The South Florida Water Management District Governing Board approved a budget Thursday which assesses residents the same property tax rate as they experienced last year.
In some cases, residents will pay slightly less than they did last year.
This action by the Governing Board marks the eighth consecutive year the SFWMD board has acted to protect taxpayers from increased taxes.
"Taxpayer dollars and water are both precious resources and this Governing Board is committed to managing both," Governing Board Chairman Federico Fernandez said in a written statement. "By eliminating nonessential costs and limiting administrative overhead, this Governing Board proudly continues its tradition of not raising taxes while achieving flood protection, water supply and environmental restoration."
The board locked in a "rolled-back" rate reduction that compensates for the increases in property values measured by property appraisers in the District's 16 counties. This keeps the actual amount of taxes paid by existing property owners the same as last year.
For property owners in the Okeechobee Basin, which includes most of the District's 16 counties, the Governing Board rolled back the tax rate from $31 per $100,000 of taxable value this year to $29.36 per $100,000 of taxable value next year, a reduction of $1.64 or about 5.3 percent.
For property owners in the Big Cypress Basin which includes Collier and parts of mainland Monroe counties, the Governing Board rolled back the property tax rate from $25.45 per $100,000 of taxable value to $24.40 per $100,000 of taxable value, a reduction of $1.05 or about 4.1 percent.
The property tax revenue collected, along with state and federal funding, will fund an estimated $809 million budget that will pay for programs in the 2018-2019 budgeted fiscal year including these:
- Providing flood control and hurricane/storm response
- Improving water quality and implementing projects to restore the Everglades
- Meeting ongoing water supply and water resource development needs
- Administering streamlined regulatory programs
- Meeting ongoing debt service payments, with no new additional debt proposed
- Managing more than 600,000 acres of SFWMD-owned land to ensure public access and combat the spread of exotic and invasive species.
The Governing Board will finalize its tax assessments and budget during two public hearings in September.