FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Budget news from Nassau County – No decision

By Cindy Jackson
Reporter
August 3, 2020

The Board of County Commissioners met on July 27th, 2020, and at that time agreed to keep the millage for the County at the same rate – 7.4%.

The last time the millage rate was increased was in 2017 at which time it went from 6.4% to the current rate of 7.4%.

At the time, the increase in millage rate was justified as a result of trying to make-up for lost revenues due to the downturn in the housing market.

That was then. This is now.

On July 27th, also consideration for the millage rate was a “rollback rate,” – defined as the rate which would result in the same amount of revenue being generated as the year before. All things being considered, a “rollback rate” would translate into a lower taxing percentage for existing homeowners because of the increased in assessed values.

Nassau County has experienced already a loss of $ 2 million – $3 million in revenue as a result of the unforeseen and unpredictable consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Especially hurtful to the County’s budget are hotel reservations cancelled and lost sales from restaurants and other tourist activities. Amelia Island is one of those destination locations that depends on tourism dollars.

All things considered, on July 27th, the Board of County Commissioners for Nassau County met the deadlines required by law.

• the BOCC needed to set a tentative millage rate. That they did.
• the BOCC needed to authorize staff (the OMB) to submit TRIM notices to the Property Appraisers Office by August 4th. That they did; and,
• the BOCC needed to set a date for a formal public hearing on the proposed budget. That they also did. September 14, 2020.

The Board decided to hold a special meeting on Friday, July 31, 2020, with the stated purpose being that between the two meetings, the BOCC members and staff could identify where budget reductions could perhaps be made.

That did not happen.

Consequently, the BOCC scheduled yet another special meeting on Monday, August 3, 2020 for 1PM.

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