In a move that will save taxpayers approximately $6.5 million, the Alachua County Commission has lowered the millage rate of both the General Fund and the Law Enforcement, Municipal Services Taxing Unit (MSTU).
Setting a millage rate determines property taxes in Florida. One mill is one-tenth of a percent, which equates to $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in home value. Many different authorities, including counties, municipalities, school boards, and special districts, levy these taxes.
With the adoption of the FY2021 Budget, the General Fund millage rate has dropped below 8 mills for only the third time in the last three decades. The millage rate has gone from 8.2729 mills to 7.8935 mills. Had the millage rate remained the same, the County would have collected $127.8 million. At the adopted lower rate, the County will collect $122.3 million, for a savings of $5.5 million to taxpayers.
The Law Enforcement MSTU millage rate went from 3.7240 mills to 3.5678 mills. The current millage rate would have raised $24 million, and the lowered rate will raise $23 million, saving taxpayers an additional $1 million.
“At this challenging and difficult time, I am very grateful that the Commission voted unanimously to take this step,” commented Commission Chair Robert “Hutch” Hutchinson. “This rate reduction keeps an additional $6.5 million in the hands of individuals and businesses and augments the millions in CARES Act dollars we are working hard to distribute.”
“Over these last months of budget deliberations, as they witnessed the many residents that were struggling financially, the Commissioners made it clear that a lower property tax rate was their overarching priority,” County Manager Michele Lieberman said. “I am very grateful to my department heads, the Judiciary, and the Constitutional Officers, for presenting budgets that were sensitive to this, which helped me build a budget that achieved the Commission’s objective.”