District reduces tax rate for seventh year, funds major projects in $158 million budget

Comparison of tax paid based on the assessed value of a home

Comparison of tax paid based on the assessed value of a homePALATKA, Fla., Sept. 24, 2019 — The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board on Tuesday adopted its fiscal year 2019-2020 budget, which reduces the millage rate for taxpayers for a seventh consecutive year. The $158 million budget continues to provide significant funds for water resource protection and cost-share projects to ensure sustainable water resources, increase water conservation and protect water quality in springs and other priority water bodies.

The 0.2414 millage rate will result in $88.7 million in revenue toward a total $158 million budget for fiscal year 2019‒2020, which begins Oct. 1, 2019. The budget is also funded through state, federal and other district sources (including timber sales, cattle leases, interest earnings and permit fees).

The budget adopted by the board is approximately 12.3 percent less than the current year’s budget. The millage rate is 5.8 percent less than the FY 2018-2019 adopted rate. In order to reduce the burden of taxpayers, the district has adopted the rolled-back millage rate since FY 2013–14.

Under a 0.2414 millage rate — 24.14 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value — the owner of a $200,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $36.21 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 $68.2 million in cooperative funding, with up to $3.5 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.
  • $3.3 million in state funds for Lake Apopka projects, including enhancements to the marsh flow-way system.
  • $4 million in legislative funds for three Doctors Lake nutrient reduction projects.
  • $10.7 million for springs protection projects.
  • Continued progress on the Black Creek Water Resource Development project ($46 million), which should provide approximately 5–10 million gallons per day (mgd) in aquifer recharge to the Keystone Lakes region when complete.

The final budget will be available online after Oct. 4, 2019, on the district’s website, www.sjrwmd.com.