Even though county government, Palm Coast, Flagler Beach and Bunnell are all increasing taxes, homeowners’ bills will not see a steep increase thanks to a lower school tax.
local government taxes
The Flagler Beach pier already generates well over $300,000 a year for the city, and rising, but commissioners want more: they’d close off the pier to private parties six times a year, for $155 an hour plus additional fees.
In inflation adjusted dollars, current spending on public education is $1,100-per-student less than it was in 2007, and would still be $1,000 less if the Legislature goes along with a state board of education proposal.
The tax increases are generating almost no opposition, in large part because they are tied to benefits taxpayers can see: raises for teachers and cops, additions of firefighters (three this year at the county, three more next year), restoring reserves decimated during the recession, and so on.
If the council sticks with the proposed 2016 rate, which is the same as this year’s, a homesteaded homeowner with a $150,000 house, in the median range in Palm Coast, would see a tax increase of between $5 and $10 dollars for the year.
The typical Palm Coast house valued at $150,000 will pay roughly $50 more in school taxes for the year even as the tax rate goes down slightly.
City Manager Jim Landon is proposing a refurbished $6.8 million plan that would use general fund dollars to build a new city hall without raising taxes, even though $5.8 million of that–a repayment from the Town Center taxing district–could be used to lower property taxes or build other capital projects with broader public uses. Residents had roundly rejected a similar plan in 2010 and 2011, when the building would have cost $10 million.
All property owners in Flagler County, including all its cities, pay the St. Johns River Water Management District tax. The district’s $135.5 million proposed budget includes $13 million for 22 reclaimed water and water conservation projects, one of them in Flagler.
An unclear Government Services Building and what it costs to maintain it properly was emblematic of the Flagler County Commission’s budget discussion this morning, as the government faces at least a $3.3 million gap, or more, if it hires an extra custodian, no new revenue, and the likelihood of higher taxes.
It’s difficult to see how Flagler commissioners will emerge from the budget process in September without either a substantial tax increase of one type or another or vast cuts in county services, though they began taking on sacred cows, such as consolidating fire departments.