Gulf County commissioners unanimously approved an $86 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Monday that will see a drop in the millage rate for the third year in a row.
The county’s aggregate millage rate going into the next year will be 6.8934 mills. But although this rate is lower than it was the year prior, the county still expects to bring in more tax money.
This rate is almost 14 percent higher than the rollback rate, meaning the county expects to bring in an additional $2.622 million in ad valorem tax funding.
“This is 13.76% above the current year aggregate rollback rate of 6.0596,” said title Sherri Herring. “The tentative aggregate millage rate includes the county wide millage rate at 6.5, each of your dependent fire districts at 0.5 mills and the tentative MSTU voted debt service at gulfside beach for 0.6786, interior at 0.5689 and bayside at 0.5723.”
The rollback rate, or the millage rate needed to bring in the exact same amount of money as the year prior, is calculated using the total county property after reassessment by the Gulf County Property Appraiser’s office.
This means that those whose property values have increased since last year will end up paying more in taxes, even if the rate is lower. But the increased value of individual properties does not account for all increases in overall property values, with new construction playing a significant role as well.
“As of January 1, 2022, New Construction, and additions accounted for $93.73 million in Market (Just) value which equates to approximately $77.60 million of taxable value,” said Gulf Countey Property Appraiser Mitch Burke in late June. “This is up 23.45% or $14.74 million from $62.86 million of taxable value in 2021.”
The county’s overall tax base increased 22.7% from last year.
According to Herring additional funding will be allocated to several county projects and expenditures in the upcoming year.
“The primary reasons for our ad valorem tax revenue increasing, we have the sheriff’s office, clerk’s office, county jail, FRS retirement rate costs have increased, our insurance costs, employee pay raises, capital outlay projects, EMS services, and road and street facilities,” she told the board.
County Administrator MIchael Hammond said that the county’s overall budget of amount for the 2022-23 fiscal year is by far the largest ever adopted by the county, though he emphasized that a large proportion of the money came from grant funding and appropriations.
“The final number that you voted on today was $86 million… That’s by far the largest budget that this board has ever adopted,” said Hammond. “The thing that I’m proud of is that less than 20% of that is ad valorem tax. That is grants, and state shared revenues, and whatnot.”
Hammond went on to say that in the upcoming fiscal year, a member of the board will have to step into the role of chair of the budget committee, after current chair Commissioner Ward McDaniel leaves office in the new term.
“Commissioner McDaniel has been the chair of the budget committee for I think 11 years,” Hammond said. “We’re gonna need Somebody to step up and do his work. He’s done an excellent job as the chairman. It’s been a pleasure to work with him on that, and you can be proud of this budget.”