Water Management District: No Tax Hike; District Unveils Projects That Will Benefit Burgeoning 18-County Area

Article excerpt

Byline: terry brown

Holding the line for the fifth consecutive year, the governing board of the St. Johns River Water Management District voted July 12 to maintain its current tax rate for area homeowners.

The board approved a tentative budget of $206.7 million for the 2005-06 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The proposed budget includes $32 million in new projects and initiatives for the agency.

When adopted, homeowners will pay 46.2 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value. So, the owner of a $100,000 house, who claims the standard $25,000 homestead exemption, would pay $34.65 per year, according to the Water Management District.

Board vice chairman David Graham said the proposed projects are necessary to meet the future water demands in the 18-county district. The projects include developing water and supply projects to ensure long-term water resources for the district's growing populations, which include Volusia and St. Johns counties, two of the fastest growing counties in the United States.

"To plan for funding projects of this nature, the district is growing its funds over time," Graham said. "While continuing to be accountable and fair to taxpayers."

The district has scheduled two public hearings prior to the final budget adoption. The public hearings will be held at 5:05 p.m. on both Sept. 13 and Sept. 28 at the district's headquarters in Palatka. …