Tavares – Lake County’s new fiscal year beginning today includes a reduction in millage rates for all County taxpayers. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget that the Board of County Commissioners approved on Sept. 24 funds core services for Lake County’s growing population while also replenishing the reserves depleted by Hurricane Irma recovery in 2017.
Commissioners decreased the millage to 5.0734 from 5.1180 the previous year and adopted the FY 2020 budget of approximately $471 million.
The budget fully funds County operations and capital improvement projects, judicial support, the Sheriff’s Office, Clerk of Courts, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Supervisor of Elections and Medical Examiner. It also includes nearly $8.5 million in federal and state reimbursements related to Hurricane Irma recovery.
“We worked hard on our budget to reduce the millage rate and give tax relief to Lake County residents,” said Lake County Commission Chairman Leslie Campione. “Our primary concern this year was making sure that we could fund the Sheriff’s budget, which includes salary increases for deputies that the Sheriff began last year, while also hiring additional officers for needed areas. In addition, we focused on enhancing our EMS services by adding a new ambulance to cover an additional shift. Our overall strategy was funding essential services, including public safety, while still lowering the County’s millage rate, especially since the voter-approved school safety millage is first appearing on tax bills this fall. Unfortunately, lowering the millage rate also means that we don’t have as much funding as we need to address all road resurfacing projects throughout the county. But, we are working to identify other approaches that will allow us to accelerate some of those projects.”
The adopted budget supports Lake County’s commitment to providing excellent customer service to its residents while adhering to the highest principles of governmental budgeting. This commitment is demonstrated through the County’s cumulative reduction in expenditures of approximately $3 million over the past four fiscal years.