Leon County Tackles New Budget

Leon County, Florida- September 11, 2012

"It is a tax increase for me," said one Leon County resident.

Leon County leaders call it a roll-back rate. Leon County residents lined up to voice concerns about the proposed $223 million budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

If approved, the millage rate for property owners will increase to 8.8144 mills. According to commissioner chair Akin Akinyemi, a house valued at $100,000 would pay an extra $48 a year or about $4 a month.

Under law, the board can establish a millage rate that enables the collection equal to the prior year revenue. This rate is not considered a tax increase and allows the millage to either increase or decrease to offset the change in property values. The proposed budget is reduced $12.5 million dollars of 5.3% from the last budget.

But many in attendance at Tuesday's public meeting see it as a a tax increase.

Another reason the county is increasing the millage rate is to pay county workers more to match the cost-of-living. County leaders say they don't want to be like the state, which they say has not given its employees a raise in five years.

"I'm very proud to be guilty of not being like the state of Florida across the street.," commissioner Bill Proctor said.

"What we chose to do as a board is to try that every time we hand our employees a tough pill to swallow, try to give them something to drink with it as well," commissioner Nick Maddox added.

The board will hold another public meeting on Tuesday Sept. 18 regarding the budget before anything is formally approved.

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