The Board of County Commissioners (BCC) adopted its FY 2012 budget – a budget that that holds the line on property tax rates for the third consecutive year. The budget also marks the fifth straight year of reductions in the county’s General Fund. The General Fund budget has been reduced by more than $86 million or 21.8 percent since fiscal year 2007. The decision to not increase the property tax rates in the General Fund and the Unincorporated MSTD General Fund will result in an average reduction of 5 percent in the county portion of the tax bill for non-homestead and commercial properties.
“This is a fair and responsible budget that reflects the priorities of the County to provide needed services with limited resources,” said BCC Chairman Fred Coyle. “Working together, the Board and staff have crafted an effective blueprint for next fiscal year. This budget proves that we are a responsible and accountable government and that we are being good financial stewards of public dollars. I commend the County Manager and his staff for presenting a budget that once again reduces spending while maintaining basic services and programs in the face of very challenging local economic conditions, without increasing the property tax millage rate.”
The adopted FY 2012 General Fund budget of $309,467,600 represents a reduction of $5,984,100 or 1.9 percent from the current fiscal year. This follows a 5.6 percent reduction in the General Fund from FY 2010to FY 2011 and a 9.6 percent reduction from FY 2009 to FY 2010. The adopted 2012 MSTD Unincorporated Area General Fund budget of $40,472,200 has been reduced by $1,973,700 or 4.6 percent from the current year.
The proposed millage neutral budget was achieved by cutting most ad valorem supported operations by 3 percent and reducing certain General Fund capital transfers in FY 2011 and FY 2012. The Sheriff’s Office also reduced its General Fund request by more than $4 million. Full time funded positions in the County Manager’s Agency have been reduced by 19.8 percent or 393 positions since FY 2007. The proposed budget includes an increase in General Fund budgeted reserves which sends a strong message of fiscal health and stability to the bond rating agencies and financial community, especially when revenue streams are constrained.
Taxable value numbers provided by the Property Appraiser indicated a countywide taxable value decrease of 4.9 percent. Since 2008, Collier County’s General Fund taxable value has decreased $24.2 billion. The current general fund millage of $3.5645 is only slightly higher than the 1999 millage of $3.5510.