By Cindy Jackson
October 1, 2020

Megan Diehl, Director of the Office of Management and Budget File Photo

The final step in the laborious, time-consuming, devil-is-in-the-details budgeting process for the County took place at Monday night’s (September 28, 2020) public hearing held as part of the regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

Megan Diehl, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, presented three major items on which the BOCC voted unanimously to approve.

First up was a resolution approving the 2021 millage rates. As approved, the rates will be as follows:

Countywide Millage Rate: (excluding special districts) 7.4278
Municipal Service Millage Rate: 2.3093
Recreation & Water Conservation Millage Rate: 0.0000
Amelia Island Beach Renourishment Millage Rate: 0.0960
Aggregate Millage Rate: (including special districts) 9.8331

A second resolution approved the total budget for FY2020/2021 in the amount of $270,642,511.00. That amount represented an increase of $3,601,318.00 over the tentative budget that was presented earlier this month, on September 14, 2020. That increase is due to an expected increase in revenues derived from the one cent surtax fund – that data having been provided by the State.

As a result, another resolution was approved which details how those monies will be spent. Ms. Diehl presented the 19.5 new positions that have been budgeted for on the BOCC side including three in Animal Services, one in Code Enforcement, one for a traffic signal expert in Engineering, a new director of Recreation and Land Management, two custodial positions in Facilities Maintenance, one logistics officer for Fire and Rescue, nine firefighters, a library assistant (going from part-time to full-time) and an IT (Information Technology) expert in the Office of Management and Budget under which the IT department is housed.

In addition, the Sheriff’s Office (one of the five Constitutional officers) will see four new Deputies and one new Crime Analyst.

Diehl also noted that the cost of health insurance has gone up and the final budget also reflects a new millings contract and a new beach security contract.

Giving credit where credit is due is an almost universally recognized sign of a good leader. Before ending her presentation, Ms. Diehl publicly recognized the hard work of two other OMB staff members – Cindy Wood and Megan Sawyer. The Commissioners also extended kudos to the Office of Management and Budget as they often recognize the good work of County employees.

One other item of interest was the postponement of consideration of the proposed Beach Ordinance – until October 12, 2020.

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