Water district cuts millage rate

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BROOKSVILLE – The same day county commissioners passed a tax rate hike Tuesday that will add about $50 to most people’s annual bills, the Southwest Florida Water Management District Governing Board adopted its own fiscal year 2013-14 budget, which includes a millage rate of 0.3818 mills, 2.8 percent lower than the current fiscal year.

For the owner of a $150,000 home with a $50,000 homestead exemption, people who live in the district – which includes Hernando County – will pay $38.18 a year, or about $3.18 per month, according to Susanna Martinez Tarokh, the district’s public information officer.

The total budget for the district is $170.8 million.

The district plans to invest more than $138 million for water resource management projects in the region.

Swiftmud will use balances available from prior years, due to canceled projects or projects completed under budget, and rebudgeted prior year state trust funds.

During the long term, the district has identified adequate fiscal resources to address the core mission areas of responsibility for water supply, water quality, flood protection and floodplain management and natural systems.

The district’s fiscal resources supplemented with project reserves will adequately maintain a healthy investment in the economy and water resources during the next five to 10 years, according to a press release.

“By wisely managing our funding, the district is in a position to continue our investment in water resource projects and ensure a sustainable water supply for residents within the 16-county district, including Hernando County,” Tarokh said in an email.

Meanwhile, county commissioners worked late into the night Tuesday before finalizing a $395 million budget and a millage rate of 6.8669, or 0.95 mills higher than the previous fiscal year tax rate.

Commissioners cut out some $300,000 from the final tax rate to give residents a break, albeit of a few dollars annually.

But that didn’t matter to resident Shirley Miketenac, who stayed until County Commissioner Dave Russell banged the gavel at around 8:10 p.m. Tuesday to end the second and final budget hearing.

“I know it’s a small amount but it does mean something to the people,” Miketenac said. “It is appreciated.”


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