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With the new fiscal year starting next week on Oct. 1, the Ormond Beach City Commission approved a new millage rate of 4.0308 mills by way of a 4-1 vote at its final budget hearing on Wednesday, Sept. 22. City Commissioner Dwight Selby voted against.
The operating millage rate of 3.9128 mills is 4.7% above the rollback rate of 3.7370 mills. Included in the operating millage rate is a new public safety vehicle and equipment replacement fund for 0.1580 mills, which will fund the replacement of six new patrol cars, two specialty units and one motorcycle, as well as two commercial dryers for the Ormond Beach Fire Department and communication headsets for two fire trucks.
The budget totals $101.7 million, and general fund reserves are over $37.7 million, a 7.47% increase, or $2.6 million, compared to the 2020-2021 fiscal year budget, according to City Manager Joyce Shanahan's budget message included in the budget packet.
Ad valorem taxes account for $13.2 million of the general fund budget. While the total millage rate of 4.0308 mills remains the same as last year's (when the city adopted the rollback rate for its operating millage), the message states that ad valorem property tax revenues will increase due to the city's 5.53% increase in property values.
"While the economic outlook remains strong, we continue to adhere to our conservative approach to the budget by managing costs without compromising the services that add value and serve our residents and businesses," wrote Shanahan in the budget message.
At the meeting, Mayor Bill Partington said overall, the commission and city went through a smooth budget process, as he said he only heard from two people in the community who were unhappy with the proposed budget and millage rate. He also said he spoke to a new resident who relocated from Daytona Beach to a more expensive home in Ormond Beach, and is now paying less in property taxes.
"When you look at the millage rates and see where we are compared to other cities, you realize the value that you're getting for your dollar and our staff strives really hard to make that happen, and we as a commission push them to do that," Partington said.
The city is also using $4.9 million of American Rescue Plan Act dollars to fund infrastructure repair and replacement projects for the city's water and sewer system. In addition, the commission approved a 3.5% water and wastewater utility rate increase in a 3-2 vote. Selby and Commissioner Rob Littleton voted against, as both were in favor of using the ARPA dollars for "generational" water quality projects. Selby said the city is using the funds for what he would call "ordinary and customary" repairs and improvements, and that he would rather use the funds to begin eliminating the amount of reclaim water the city discharges into the Halifax River. The city is proposing the construction of an additional reclaimed water storage tank in its capital improvements, but the tank will only collect an additional day's worth of storage.