Thread: Budget meetings
06-09-2010, 09:44 PM #1
Anyone know how the budget meetings went this week? I keep hearing we are going to get a 15-20% tax hike this year and wonder if there is any truth to it. I thought we had 3 firm votes against tax increases.
06-09-2010, 10:00 PM #2
They will go to the rollback rate and try and convince you that it is not a tax increase - they are just raising the millage rate to generate the same revenue as last year.
I have only heard one person said they will oppose a rate increase - Sara
Maybe the WCTA will wade in here with more info.
06-09-2010, 10:48 PM #3
06-10-2010, 06:51 AM #4
Pridgen, as far as I know is unopposed, so there may be no consequences for him to vote to go to the roll back rate. What services do you want cut to remain at the same millage? That person doing the public records request darn sure needs to keep her/ his job, but other than that everyone else is fair game, I suppose.
06-10-2010, 07:28 AM #5
06-10-2010, 08:28 AM #6
We are facing a budget crunch, so what are we willing to lose? Public Works, Planning/Development, Emergency Srevices?
Lets give some answers and not just complaints.
06-10-2010, 09:43 AM #7
Commissioner Pridgen is unopposed, according to the Supervisor of Elections Web site. A Democrat, Bill Hunter, was running against him but has withdrawn. A county staff person told me that budget scrub meetings are taking place this week, as I understand it they are to decide what can be cut out, although more can still be cut out later. These are staff meetings and I know the WTCA folks have participated for the past few years. I don't think the commissioners have to make up their mind or say how they will be voting until the budget comes before them, but maybe some of them have spoken to someone about it.
Last edited by miznotebook; 06-10-2010 at 09:45 AM.
Question - if the assessed value has dropped, isn't it possible that you could still be paying less than before - even if taxes are raised.
Considering the pages and pages of tax certificates being sold I just saw in the Defuniak Herald, some hard choices are going to have be made.
06-10-2010, 12:13 PM #9
06-10-2010, 12:16 PM #10
You are exactly right. What would be the correct way to do budgets is figure out what we NEED in the next year and then arrange financing to meet the NEEDS. We do it just opposite, we figure out how much the taxpayers will pony up without a mutiny and then decide how to spend that money.
06-10-2010, 02:21 PM #11
[QUOTE=scooterbug44;674882]Question - if the assessed value has dropped, isn't it possible that you could still be paying less than before - even if taxes are raised.
If the taxable value of the properties in the county as a whole has gone down since last year, the millage rate could be raised by a certain amount without the county taking in more taxes than last year.
06-10-2010, 02:50 PM #12
Not necessarily - if I am paying "x" rate of taxes on a property assessed at "y" dollars it is not necessarily more than if I pay "x+w" rate of taxes on a property that is now assessed at ".75y".
It all depends. Amount xy could be greater or less than .75yx and .75wy.
06-10-2010, 03:09 PM #14
Last edited by miznotebook; 06-10-2010 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Addition
06-10-2010, 05:25 PM #15
06-10-2010, 05:29 PM #16
I am the source. If things stay as they are now, the millage will go to the roll back resulting in an approximate 14+% increase for those under homestead exemption, plus various recapture rate increases for many.
I came to this conclusion by stitching together statements made to me by various county commissioners in addition to historical actions and statements that they have made.
06-10-2010, 07:21 PM #17
06-10-2010, 11:24 PM #18
I thought Interested Girl had a candidate all lined up to run against Pridgen. What happened? If he has no opposition he has no reason to oppose the tax increase. Looks like the beachfront owners are going to get the double whammy: oil on the beach and higher taxes from the county. If they throw the employees a few dollars they will all be heros and you can watch out, the millage rate will be back a 6 before long. Thats called revenge for sunshine lawsuits. Be careful about bragging about making important people look bad.
06-12-2010, 08:15 AM #19
I've not been a resident here long enough to know the histories of the county players, but Mr. Pridgen seemed a straight-forward and nice guy. As he at least at last opportunity did vote against a tax increase and as it is the expectation of others with much longer histories locally that he will vote against a rollback rate and will oppose a tax increase, I think I'll settle for trying to influence Ms. Commander and Ms. Jones as the other two likely votes against those pernicious possibilities. Both are said to be likely to do so.
06-12-2010, 08:48 AM #20
From a review of the auditor's report on county finances:
Revenues from 2000‐2009 plus 97%
Expenses from 2000‐2009 plus 134%
Population plus 43%
2000‐2009 School Enroll. plus 22%
2000‐2009 Assessed Values plus 214%
2000‐2009 Walton County School Board is County Largest employer‐1,096 up 33%
Walton County Total Government is # 2--897 Law Enforcement Officers--165 Up 136%
E911 Calls‐ 27,542 up 56%
E911 Call Fire/EMS 5296 DOWN 18%
# Registered Voters 37,105 up 32%
Current Walton County Revenue Resources:
Property Tax 47%
Gas Tax 4%
Sales Tax 16%
TDC Tax 9%
Charges Services 3%
Op Grants/Contrib 9%
a. Nonspendable $ 3,438,527
b. Restricted $ 28,280,511
c. Committed $ 6,010,894
d. Assigned $ 26,471,540
e. Unassigned $ 13,533491
Both d and e ($ 40,000,000) represent funds that could be made available to the County and to some degree c funds could become un‐committed. However, at best, our total usable reserves are not much more then the bank debt we have created in recent years.
You may thank a couple of members of the WCTA for some long hard work reading and analyzing the 2 inch thick audit for these excerpts from their report to the WCTA. In the eveny you are reading this and are not a member of the WCTA, I'd urge you to join. Entry fee is nominal. The organization is a partisan for responsible stewardship of your tax dollars. While its individual members have a diverse set of political views, backgrounds and residences, the organization has that single focus. It exists for all the taxpayers of the county and has members residing on the beach, south of the bay, north of the bay, and out of state. It monitors and advocates for fiscally responsible government in Walton County. If you want to get the BCC to hold taxes down, join up, then show up at BCC meetings to let the commissioners know with your presence and your face to face voice what you want -- their vote against any tax increase.
For further information, WCTA Home Page.
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06-12-2010, 09:25 PM #21
I consider Pridgen a friend, that said, he is mistaken. He has not voted for a millage rate increase, but he has repeatedly voted for tax increases since being in office. He, like many, confuses the tax rate with the actual tax levy. Just go to the Clerk website and download and review the CAFRs for various years past, then look at the budget vote from the minutes.
What I want to know is who and why were we voted $39 million in debt.
On another note, since being in office, Comander has not voted for either a rate or tax levy increase in three years.
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06-12-2010, 10:11 PM #22
06-13-2010, 05:54 AM #23
Insider? Please. All I do is read and call and ask questions. Insider suggests I get some sort of a benefit, and I can assure you, all that I ever got were my checks cashed, so I finally just quit writing them. Could not even get that favor returned when I ran for office, that is when I finally figured out that most were for themselves and only themselves. But Sara Comander and Bobby Beasley proved to the exceptions so far.
A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
06-13-2010, 08:30 AM #25
Well it is unfortunate, but it takes dollars to get the message out. And commissioner races are expensive. As of now, she is the only one with opposition, so if you want to keep her, then send her a check. No amount is too small. There are a lot of things to be done, and less than 75 days to get the word out.
06-13-2010, 02:21 PM #26
I wonder why it is that Sara Comander, the only Commissioner totally with the citizen's at heart, is the only one to draw opposition. If you have a question, she is open to answering it. Just ask her and she will give you her reasoning or honest opinion. She is a great Commissioner, IMO.I think of government as the Mafia without the moral authority or predictability. Ron Hart
06-13-2010, 08:07 PM #27
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