District reduces tax rate for ninth year, funds major projects in nearly $148 million budget

What a typical District homeowner can expect to pay in 2020 for their water management district portion of their tax bill at 0.2189 millsPALATKA, Fla., Sept. 28, 2021 — The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board on Tuesday adopted its fiscal year 2021‒2022 budget and reduced its millage rate for a ninth consecutive year, keeping taxes low while providing significant funds for water resource protection and cost-share projects. District programs and projects help to ensure sustainable water resources, increase water conservation, provide flood protection and protect water quality in springs and other priority water bodies across 18 counties in east-central and northeast Florida.

“This budget supports water resource protection programs and cooperative funding projects that directly benefit the environment, our local communities and the economy,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Michael A. Register, P.E. “The Governing Board’s vote today reflects the continued commitment of our Governing Board members and staff to protecting and conserving Florida’s water resources while being responsible stewards of the public funds entrusted to us.”

The District’s cost-share partnership efforts since 2014 have provided for approximately 187 million gallons per day (mgd) of alternative water supply, conserved 21.6 mgd of water, protected 5,126 acres from flooding, reduced total nitrogen loading by nearly 2.2 million pounds per year, and total phosphorus loading by approximately 410,000 pounds per year.

The adopted 0.2189 millage rate will result in more than $92.9 million in revenue toward a total $147.7 million budget for fiscal year 2021‒2022, which begins Oct. 1, 2021. The budget is also funded through state, federal, local, and other district sources (including timber sales, cattle leases, interest earnings, and permit fees).

The budget adopted by the board is approximately 48.3 percent less than the current year’s budget. The millage rate is about 4.3 percent less than the current year’s tax rate. In order to reduce the burden of taxpayers, the District has adopted the rolled-back millage rate since FY 2013–14.

Under a 0.2189 millage rate — 21.89 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value — the owner of a $200,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $32.84 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 supporting local communities’ water quality, water supply, and flood protection projects.

Budget highlights include:

  • More than $66.35 million in cooperative funding 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.
  • $17.2 million in state funds for several Alternative Water Supply projects.
  • $11.98 million for springs protection projects.
  • Continuation of the Black Creek Water Resource Development project ($48.34 million) to provide approximately 5-10 mgd in aquifer recharge to the Keystone lakes region when complete.

The final budget is now available on the District’s website, https://www.clone.sjrwmd.com/static/financial/budget/FY2021-22_Final_Budget.pdf.