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Clay voters to have say in how to fund county government

Posted: September 5, 2014 - 10:04am

GREEN COVE SPRINGS | The Clay County Commission wants to hear from voters about potential funding sources to pay for running county government.

Two straw ballot questions regarding future county budgets will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. The commission, voting 4-0 with Chairman Wendell Davis absent on Aug. 26, approved placing the non-binding measures on the ballot.

The first asks voters about diversifying revenue sources to reduce the county’s dependence on property tax revenue. The other asks about establishing special taxing districts to provide adequate funding for county libraries and parks.

As proposed, the questions are:

■ Should the electors of the county have a future ballot choice to provide for library and parks stability by the establishment of special library and parks taxing districts that shall provide adequate funding to meet the needs of the community?

■ Should the county work toward diversification of its revenue sources in a way that reduces reliance on property taxes and increases reliance on consumption-based revenue sources such as the utility services tax, local option gas taxes and sales taxes?

The county currently faces a projected $2 million budget gap. The commission has set the county’s tentative maximum millage rate at 8.4583 per $1,000 of taxable property. That is an increase of 0.60 from the current rate.

A mill generates $1 in property tax revenue for every $1,000 in assessed value. The tentative Clay rate means the owner of a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay a county tax of about $845 a year, which is an increase of $60 per year.

Meanwhile, the commission has adopted a tentative $279 million county budget for 2014-15.

Teresa Stepzinski: (904) 359-4075

 
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