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Finance Chair: Property tax rate increase shouldn't be off the table yet
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Finance Chair: Property tax rate increase shouldn't be off the table yet

Finance Chair: Property tax rate increase shouldn't be off the table yet
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

Finance Chair: Property tax rate increase shouldn't be off the table yet

Following a year in which your property tax rate was hiked more than 14%, there’s little appetite on Jacksonville’s City Council to look at a rate hike again this year.

But that doesn’t mean some councilmen want it off the table entirely.

“The idea that you would just immediately cross that off the list and not give yourself any leeway is, I believe, problematic in what is typically a very long and contentious budget process,” says Finance Chair Richard Clark.

The Finance Committee has a special meeting Tuesday morning to examine the ad valorem- or property tax- rate to apply for the upcoming budget.  The committee is set to vote on the maximum hike they could allow as part of the budget discussions, because notice must then be issued to all property owners. This is not, however, the new rate that will be set- that is decided along with the final budget approval that comes by October 1st.

Clark says he’s already seen some concern over whether the revenue sources used in the Mayor’s budget proposal are the best sources, like with reserve funding.  While there is, in fact, an increase in revenue that’s coming in, Clark wants to make sure they have options when it comes to funding projects and departments.

“I personally believe that the right course of action is to give ourselves the maximum amount of flexibility and not put ourselves in to a corner,” Clark says.

That flexibility, in his opinion, may come with a one mill proposed increase- again not as the final rate, but as an option that Council can later tap if they need the funding.

“I’m not sure that we’d use any of it,” he says.

He acknowledges that the goal last year was to create the revenue option but not use most of it, while in fact Council used more than 14% of the 15% rate hike they allowed.

“There wasn’t an option as to whether you needed it or didn’t need it- you didn’t have the revenue,” he says.

Because there is revenue coming in this year, Clark believes the Council will be able to figure out other funding in the final budget approval.

WOKV will be at City Hall for the special meeting beginning at 10AM. You can get instant updates on Twitter (@NewsAndNom) and on-air at 104.5FM/AM690.

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