The Volusia District Council holds its first public budget hearing on Tuesday, and opponents of rising property taxes are holding a rally to demand a full withdrawal.
Russ Moulton, a business owner who heads the FAIREST (Floridians for Affordability in Real Estate and Sales Taxes) political action committee, said the effort is grassroots.
“We’ll have our signs there and only talk about the waste in the county budget, the insolence when everyone is fighting,” said Moulton. “We’re trying to do a full rollback, which is not difficult. Anything else is a tax hike for every single worker and retiree in Volusia County.”
New COVID test locations:Opening of free coronavirus test sites in Daytona Beach, Deltona
Federal pandemic aid:$ 1,000 employee bonuses make up the cut as Volusia spends most of its $ 107.5 million on COVID
Partial rollback achieved:The Volusia District Council cuts $ 2.8 million from $ 1.1 billion in a special session
If fully rolled back, the county’s general fund would still grow its revenue by more than $ 5 million, according to calculations by county employees.
The county cut proposed budget spending by $ 2.8 million in a special session on Aug. 31 to allow a partial cut back to 5.3812 from the lump sum of 5.4500 approved earlier this summer.
Moulton called these efforts “ridiculous”.
“The word cut is a lie. These are cuts in proposed spending,” he said. “These people aren’t serious and they don’t care about the working people.”
Moulton said some items he would like to see cut up were:
- The $ 8 million economic development incentive fund;
- The position of sustainability and resilience manager helping with climate change planning;
- $ 1,425,000 for renovations at the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Center.
“If the county just cut the unnecessary and wasteful spending from the budget, they’d have more than enough,” said Moulton.
With a partial rollback, most homeowners will see a tax hike as real estate appraiser Larry Bartlett reports an approximately 7.6% increase in property values to $ 42.8 billion in 2021.
County Manager George Recktenwald’s recommended total budget, to be agreed by October 1, is $ 1.1 billion.
The household hearing is at 6:00 p.m. and the rally is at 4:30 p.m. outside the Thomas C. Kelly Administration Building, 123 Indiana Ave. planned in DeLand.
ARPA project shares:The councilor of Volusia, judge in the dispute over the project that was set up for expenditure on pandemic aid
More:Volusia District Council approves new guidelines for the ECHO program
September 7th a busy day in the Volusia County Council
But that is not all that is on the Council’s agenda on Tuesday.
You have a regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m. with 24 other items. It will fit closely into the council, whose meetings regularly go on into the evening hours. Their longest meeting of the year, held on August 17th, lasted until 8 p.m.
On the agenda in the morning are the changes recommended by the Advisory Committee for Volusia Forever, including adding new criteria for the ranking of forests and arable land, increasing the percentage of land management to 15% and using program funds to fund staff.
They will also officially accept the federal government-provided rental subsidy of $ 13.2 million. It is the second installment of nearly $ 30 million made under the American Rescue Plan Act for rental and utility assistance.
The county accepted requests for this assignment in July and reached 1,352 requests in just three hours.
District spokesman Pat Kuehn said the county has spent $ 5,630,367 – 19% – and pledged an additional $ 6,501,332 in 2021. Around 60% of the funds still need to be touched.
President Joe Biden’s administration in July urged state and local governments to accelerate the distribution of the funds as the federal eviction of the moratorium was due to expire. Significant paperwork is required for the applications, although the county staff said there is some flexibility.
“Volusia County has developed self-certification forms for income and hardship that can be used when applicants are unable to provide the required documentation,” Kuehn said.
Both landlords and tenants were eligible to apply for the money, but landlords only accounted for 64 of the more than 2,600 applications received. Kühn reported that none of them had submitted all the necessary documents.
The eviction ban was briefly extended in areas hardest hit by COVID-19, including all of Florida, before it was lifted by the Supreme Court on Aug. 26.