District reduces tax rate for fifth year, funds major projects in $160 million budget

PALATKA, Fla., Sept. 26, 2017 — The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board today adopted its fiscal year 2017-2018 budget, which provides 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 approved reducing the millage rate for taxpayers for a fifth year.

“This budget supports cooperative funding projects and water resource protection programs that directly benefit the environment, our local communities and the economy,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “The Governing Board’s vote today demonstrates the agency’s continued commitment to water resource protection and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”

The 0.2724 millage rate (rolled-back rate) will generate $85.4 million in revenue that will be part of a total $160.4 million budget for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, 2017. The rolled back rate is 5.6 percent less than the current fiscal year’s rate, primarily due to home value appreciation. In addition to ad valorem revenue, the budget is also funded through state, federal and other district sources (including timber sales, land leases, interest earnings and permit fees).

Under a 0.2724 millage rate — 27.24 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value — the owner of a $200,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $40.86 in the coming year in property taxes to the district.

The budget will fund the district’s major programs, including water supply planning, priority water body and springs restoration, and continued cost-share partnerships. Budget highlights include:

  • More than $71 million in cooperative funding, with $3.6 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.
  • $9.5 million in new state funding for springs protection projects that support local efforts to protect spring flows and water quality.
  • $7 million for removal of nutrient-rich muck in the Eau Gallie River, a tributary of the Indian River Lagoon.
  • $8.8 million in state funds for Lake Apopka projects, including enhancements to the marsh flow-way system.
  • $5 million in legislative funds for the Black Creek Water Resource Development Project to provide aquifer recharge in northeast Florida.

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