The Board of Osceola County Commissioners approved a $1.36 billion budget Monday for the fiscal year that begins next month.
That’s a bit higher than the last two years, which also featured billion-dollar budgets.
Much of that money is raised through property taxes, which will be billed at 7.9305 mills this year (a house with an assessed tax rate of $100,000 would pay $793.05 in taxes). That money funds transportation, other capital projects, and safety workers like first responders.
With real estate values continuing to rise about a decade after they tanked, it gives the county a bigger pool of money to fund projects and added county staff, especially in Corrections and Pubic Safety.
“Budgets always present challenges because funding is seldom equal to need but once again we’ve been mindful of our responsibilities, while exercising prudent fiscal management practices in order to continue to best serve our citizens with an emphasis on transportation and public safety,” said Chairwoman Cheryl Grieb. “I feel this year’s budget strikes a balance to address the needs and expectations of our residents.”
Other added line items that made the original tentative budget grow about $200 million to the one approved Monday — basically, what you get as an Osceola County resident — include a $1.6 million stormwater study, funding for Animal Services grants, funding for the community’s YMCA, funds to start the initial phases of a Neptune Road widening and maintenance of environmental lands, and to cover pending reimbursement from FEMA for Hurricane Irma cleanup from 2017.
Growth for law enforcement spending at the Sheriff’s Office is growing by 33 percent, counsel for Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said, and that the ratio of deputies to the population, “there’s room to grow.”
He touted an 11.7 percent reduction in the county’s crime rate from 2017 to 2018, according to the FDLE’s Uniform Crime Report.