SJRWMD budget reduces tax rate, funds water resource protection projects

PALATKA, Fla., Sept. 27, 2016 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board today approved its fiscal year 2016-2017 budget, which will provide funds for cost-share projects and major programs to support the agency's core missions of water supply, water quality, natural systems and flood protection. The board also voted to reduce the millage rate for taxpayers for a fourth year.

PALATKA, Fla., Sept. 27, 2016 — The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board today approved its fiscal year 2016-2017 budget, which will provide funds for cost-share projects and major programs to support the agency’s core missions of water supply, water quality, natural systems and flood protection. The board also voted to reduce the millage rate for taxpayers for a fourth year.

“The district’s emphasis on cooperative funding supports Florida’s economy with projects that directly benefit water resources,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “This budget demonstrates the Governing Board’s commitment to water resource protection as well as responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”

The 0.2885 millage rate (rolled-back rate) will generate $84.1 million in revenue that will be part of a total $164.6 million budget for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, 2016. The millage rate adopted by the board is approximately 4.6 percent less than the current year’s tax rate. The budget is also funded through state, federal and other district sources (including timber sales, cattle leases, interest earnings and permit fees).

Under a 0.2885 millage rate — 28.85 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value — the owner of a $200,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $43.28 in the coming year in property taxes to the district.

The budget will fund the district’s major programs, including springs protection, projects to improve water quality and alternative water supply development. Budget highlights include:

  • Nearly $70 million in cooperative funding, with $7 million specifically to support water projects in economically disadvantaged rural communities and for innovative technologies, as well as springs and priority water body protection and restoration, water conservation initiatives with public water suppliers, and projects to enhance the reuse of reclaimed water.
  • $6.2 million in new state funding for springs protection projects that support local efforts to protect spring flows and water quality.
  • Approximately $6.6 million toward second-year cooperative projects that support local efforts to protect spring flows and water quality.
  • $8.5 million for the Eau Gallie muck dredging project to improve navigation and water quality.
  • $10.2 million for the district’s agricultural cooperative funding program, which assists farmers in implementing water-saving technologies and helps fund dispersed water storage projects.
  • $5.5 million for the Lake Apopka and Upper Ocklawaha River Basin, including $625,000 for the Emeralda Marsh Area 3 Reconnection.
  • $4 million in funding from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the Lake Apopka Restoration project.
  • $3 million for the Tri-County Agricultural Area (TCAA) Water Management Partnership.
  • $1.4 million for the Canal 1 Rediversion project (Phase 1B) in the Indian River Lagoon Basin.
  • $900,000 for the Fellsmere Water Management Area in the Upper St. Johns River Basin.
  • $2.8 million in new state funding for land management restoration projects, including $750,000 for a water quality improvement project at the Silver Springs Forest Conservation Area.

The budget is available online at www.sjrwmd.com/budget.