The tentative millage rate is a compromise between the rollback rate and what city staff recommended.
The Ormond Beach City Commission has opted to raise property taxes by 2.87% for the upcoming fiscal year in case the Homestead Exemption increase passes in November — though not all the City Commissioners were on board with this.
The tentative millage rate of 4.1655 mils was adopted 4-1, with City Commissioner Dwight Selby voting against, at the commission meeting on Tuesday, July 31, following a budget workshop. This millage rate was the result of a compromise between the proposed rate of 4.2843 mils, which was recommended for approval by both the city's Finance Department and budget advisory board, and the rollback rate of 4.0493 mils. The rollback rate would generate the same amount of property taxes as this year for the city, but provide no additional revenue for the upcoming fiscal year even as property values increase.
From this point forward, the tentative millage rate cannot be raised, but it can be lowered.
“Ormond Beach can rejoice yet again if we adopt this rate because the city leaders have made Ormond Beach’s budget yet again our priority," said City Commissioner Troy Kent. "We run a lean, mean machine in Ormond Beach.”
With the tentative millage, Ormond Beach is the city with the third-lowest property taxes in the county.
Selby, however, was advocating to lower the rate even further by adopting the rollback rate instead. The Volusia County Council recently did just that.
He said the possible Homestead Exemption increase is not something the city should worry about right now, and if it does pass, that's an issue they'll have time to deal with. Rollback rate would still keep the city above its 15% general fund reserve benchmark by 0.5%; an additional estimated $450,0000.
Selby felt that is money that the city will be taking from taxpayers and putting into its bank account unnecessarily.
“My attitude is we don’t need to do that," Selby said.
The rest of the City Commission disagreed.
Mayor Bill Partington said the adopted millage was a fair compromise that takes the rollback rate and adjusts it for inflation. If the state gave cities more consideration, he said it would already be factored into the rollback rate.
“The budget can be a political football, and I’ve never been very good at politics," Partington said. "The thing that I am good at is protecting this city fiscally, and we’ve done that for the last 16 year, and I plan to continue to do it, and I will not play politics with our budget.”
Even though the city is still raising taxes, it is also decreasing the stormwater fund by 12.25%, or $1 per month. City Commissioner Rob Littleton said this was a good trade-off.
“If you include the fact that we are also lowering the stormwater rate, and nobody else is, this seems fine to me and a good way to give the citizens of Ormond Beach a break," Littleton said.