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St. Lucie County Commissioners Receive Proposed Fiscal Year 2017-18 Budget
St. Lucie County Commissioners received the proposed budget today for fiscal year 2017-18 in preparation for the Board’s budget workshops, which are slated to begin Monday, July 10 at 9 a.m. in Conference Room 3 of the County Administration Complex.
The proposed budget includes an aggressive approach to address long-delayed needs to improve public safety and infrastructure, including new vehicles for the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and heavy equipment for Public Works, as well as repairing roads, culverts and beaches. In order to satisfy these needs, St. Lucie County staff is recommending a total budget of $578,040,678. The current fiscal year’s amended budget (FY2016/17) will be $596,167,875. When comparing the proposed budget with the current year, the 2017-18 budget is a 3 percent decrease over the previous year.
Certified property values have increased by 7.3 percent; however, the budget was built using the June estimates of 6.75 percent. In order to address the critical needs, staff is recommending a maximum aggregate millage rate of 9.3534 mills, which is a 0.7615-mill increase or 8.9 percent overall increase in the aggregate millage rate. This increase is a 14.97 percent increase over the rollback rate.
“Budgets are balancing acts between the needs of the community and the resources that are available,” explained St. Lucie County Commission Chairman Chris Dzadovsky. “What’s been proposed is an aggressive approach to addressing some long-standing issues with public safety and our community’s crumbling infrastructure. Just how aggressive we can actually be in fulfilling these needs is what the budget process and public hearings are all about.”
In recent years, St. Lucie County has experienced steady growth in housing, tourism and targeted industries. May’s unemployment rate for the county was 4.6 percent – one of the lowest rates in the past decade. However, while St. Lucie County is still recovering from the Great Recession, there are millions of dollars in deferred infrastructure needs that still need to be resolved in order to continue to attract businesses and accommodate future growth.
“The proposed 2016 sales tax referendum contained projects relating to roads, drainage and water quality, sidewalks and public safety. It failed to pass; however, those needs never went away,” said St. Lucie County Administrator Howard Tipton. “This proposed budget puts an emphasis on these areas in particular because they are critical services that require our attention today.”
For a detailed look at the proposed budget, visit www.stlucieco.gov/omb.
The St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners Budget Workshops begin Monday, July 10 at 9 a.m. and are scheduled throughout the rest of the week, as time is needed. The meetings will take place in Conference Room 3 of the St. Lucie County Administration Complex, Roger Poitras Annex, 2300 Virginia Ave., Fort Pierce.