For Fiscal Year 2018, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners certified the proposed aggregate millage rate to the Property Appraiser at 3.4149 at the Special Budget meeting Tuesday at the Harvey Government Center. This rate goes out on property tax bills (TRIM). This rate can go down but it cannot go up when the final budget is adopted in September.
This is 3.1 percent less than last year’s aggregate millage rate. It also is 3.84 percent above the rolled-back millage rate, which is the rate that would generate the same amount of property tax.
The proposed aggregate millage rate will generate $84.9 million in property taxes, compare to last year’s levy of $80.9 million.
Monroe County’s entire proposed operating and capital budget – which includes budgets for the five Constitutional Offices for FY2018 – is $454.9 million. This is 10 percent less than the FY2017 amended budget.
The proposed FY2018 millage levy for countywide services is 2.63, which is 2.31 percent above rollback. For a home with a taxable value of $300,000, taxes for countywide services is $808.71. This rate is the lowest in the state of Florida.
The County budget continues to be driven by the priorities and goals that are outlined in the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan and guided by the desires and needs of our citizens.
While developing the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, the County launched a public outreach effort to elicit feedback and input from its residents and business owners through a variety of 16 community forums and with a residents’ and business owners’ satisfaction survey. The results are available on the County website at http://fl-monroecounty. civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/ View/12016.
“The Commissioners and our staff have been up and down the Keys this year, listening to our citizens’ concerns and desires in person and soliciting feedback through surveys,” Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. “We took into consideration all this information to put together a budget that is lean and also addresses the services and County improvements that our citizens need and want.”
Some of the FY 2018 proposed budget highlights include:
- Completing the Garrison Bight Bridge and Palm Avenue Causeway refurbishment in Key West
- Beginning design and permitting for replacement of fur arch bridges on Duck Key
- Completing sea level rise adaption road rehabilitation projects in Key Largo and Big Pine Key
- Road rehabilitation projects on Stock Island
- Building a new Cudjoe/Summerland Key fire station
- Continuation of the Land Acquisition Program with enhanced service for land stewardship
- Key West Airport improvements that include apron, runway and lighting construction projects; noise abatement project, baggage handling system upgrades, improving an emergency alert system and solar panels and a new chiller design
- Putting into operation Trauma Star 3 air ambulance in the Lower Keys
- Adding an Emergency Satellite Communications System
- IT’s Electronic Plan review of software and servers
- Construction of an All Electronic Tolling System on Card Sound Road in North Key Largo
- Increasing GIS service level
- Expansion of library programs and funding for library upgrades for all five branches throughout the Keys
The budget includes a 2.1 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) and a 1.9 percent performance based merit increase for County employees and a 4 percent increase for employees of the Constitutional Offices.
The budget process continues with three meetings in September:
- Sept. 5 – First Public Hearing, Murray Nelson Government Center in Key Largo
At this hearing, the BOCC adopts the tentative millage rate and tentative budget.
- Sept. 7 – Special Budget Meeting, Marathon Government Center in Marathon
This meeting is for BOCC discussion and direction on the budget.
- Sept. 11 – Final Public Hearing, Harvey Government Center in Key West
The BOCC adopts the final millage rate and final budget.