The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners met today virtually to certify the proposed aggregate millage rate of 3.3602, for the $437.3 million Fiscal Year 2021 budget. This budget is 7.5 percent lower than last year’s budget. The budget includes the Board of County Commissioners, the constitutional officers, the Tourist Development Council, capital projects, and reserves.
Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi and Budget and Finance Director Tina Boan presented the budget for discussion in relation to COVID-19 with estimates to residential real estate trends, taxable property values, sales taxes and state shared revenues, along with fund balance, reserves, and general fund.
Some of the FY 2021 budget highlights include:
“This is the most uncertain of all budgets we have ever put together, and while we are always conservative on the budget, this has been very difficult especially when it comes to cutting positions,” said Gastesi.
Due to COVID-19 and closing the Florida Keys on March 23, immediate action was taken within the County to identify, analyze, and estimate potential shortages and at-risk revenue sources. The County also immediately instituted a hiring and purchasing freeze and furloughed employees who did not have work due to the county closures. The County also suspended discretionary spending and unnecessary travel and deferred work wherever possible. County staff made cuts to make up for shortfalls, including the elimination of 42 positions, 13 of which are currently filled plus five outside positions that were outsourced. There will also be no cost of living increases or merit raises for staff.
“We will continue to monitor the impacts of COVID-19,” said Boan. “There are still four more months that we need to fill in for the 2020 fiscal year.”
The budget process timeline is (these may be virtual if allowed by the State of Florida):
County staff will continue to monitor revenues, expenditure savings, Poinciana Gardens Senior Living Center, and building and planning department evaluations throughout the summer. Many capital projects will also be pushed into the next two to five years.
With this budget, a homesteaded residential property with an appraised assessed value of a $380,280 in 2020 (with a 2.3 percent capped increase to property value) would have a $22.64 increase in the property tax for the 2021 year with the proposed budget, which is $1.89 per month. Along the same lines, a non-homesteaded property with a $620,248 value in 2021 would increase to $145.93. Commercial properties with a $1.1 million value would be $264.
The Monroe County Office of Budget and Finance provides coordination and development of Fiscal Year budget. The Fiscal Year 2020 budget was $472.7 million, which included continued Hurricane Irma recovery. The office continues to work on receiving refunds from FEMA from the impacts of Hurricane Irma and now COVID-19, while still providing for the daily operations of the department, program enhancements, and capital projects and improvements.
For more information about the budgeting process, or to see today’s presented slideshow, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/budgetandfinance.