July 19 – With the cost of just about everything going up, Monroe County has plans to actually decrease the millage rate for citizens in the 2023 budget.
Kristen Livengood, Public Information Officer for Monroe County, joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about issues facing the county.
It’s budget time in Monroe County and meetings have already begun.
Citizens can attend the meetings in-person or via Zoom and input is welcome.
Property values are at an historic high – at $36.8 billion. That’s up from last year at $31 billion.
Livengood said, “Going forward, that always helps with the ad valorem taxes. So having the property valuations be so high, the county is actually proposing to decrease our millage rate by 4.1%. That would mean for the average homesteaded, residential property owner, the average appraised assessed taxable value in Monroe County, so the average taxable value for a homesteaded property in Monroe County is $469,161.”
That’s not market rate. That’s what a person is charged based on their property taxes – and that’s an average.
Livengood said, “That person is going to see a $.66 per month decrease in her taxable value for the fiscal year ’23 budget.”
As property values go up, housing does become a bit less affordable, but decreasing the millage is good news.
Livengood said, “This budget is going to reflect our continued investment in our roads and bridges, our resilience adaptation, our facilities and public safety infrastructure.”
There are a lot of capital projects going forward that are almost 80% funded through grants, which helps a lot.
The Parks and Rec Department was also created and upgrades to parks and library services will be in the 2023 budget.
There will be no full time equivalent positions being added in the budget.
The budget won’t be completely finalized until September and the budget department is keeping a close eye on the details.
A new Trauma Star helicopter is in next year’s budget, which certainly helps the Sheriff’s Office when accidents occur.
Livengood said, “I’m a huge fan of Trauma Star. My brother was actually flown out two years ago on Trauma Star after a dive-relating accident and very likely that he would have died if it wasn’t for Trauma Star, so I am a big fan of Trauma Star and the Trauma Star helicopters and our nurses and pilots and mechanics who take care of that.”
Another capital project are the Upper Keys, Middle Keys and Lower Keys Activity Centers, which host Senior Centers, but also possibly teen centers, children centers and summer camp centers as well.
The online permitting program is very close to going live.
Livengood said, “It’s going to be a bit of a learning curve, but we’re hoping that any of our contractors and any person who’s doing their day to day, having to pull homeowner permits and things like that, that this will eventually be a much easier process and quicker process for everybody.”
County department lobbies are closing at 1 p.m. every day this week to give staff a chance to work on bug fixes for the program.
More information on the online permitting system can be found here: https://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/1278/Online-Permitting-Services
Monroe County Fire and Rescue have Beat the Heat events every summer.
The next one will be this Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m. at Sugarloaf School.
On July 30, there will be a Beat the Heat event at Stack Island at Bernstein Park.
National Night Out will be held on August 2 where citizens can meet law enforcement from various agencies.
The regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting will be held tomorrow in Marathon at 9 a.m.. The agenda is here: http://monroecountyfl.iqm2.com/citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=14&ID=1182&Inline=True