Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MSD Able to Keep Same Tax Rate, See Lower Bills; Declining Property Values Will Save Residents Money; Cuts Made to Keep Rate Safe

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

MSD Able to Keep Same Tax Rate, See Lower Bills; Declining Property Values Will Save Residents Money; Cuts Made to Keep Rate Safe

Article excerpt

Byline: SHAKAYA ANDRES

PONTE VEDRA BEACH - For the third year in a row, residents in a special taxing district will keep the same tax rate and see lower tax bills due to declining property values.

The Municipal Service District board is pulling money from the emergency clean-up and contingency reserve funds along with cutting expenses that allowed the district to keep the rates the same, said MSD Treasurer John Wegl.

"We're moving funds, $50,000 from our storm clean-up and $5,000 from the contingency funds," he said. "Most of our expenses are fixed, we have very little room to maneuver."

With the board transferring money from the contingency reserve for the 2010-11 fiscal year, that leaves $50,000 - or 50 percent - less than what the funds were last year.

For the contingency fund, the $5,000 deduction leaves $195,000.

The 2010-11 fiscal year began Friday.

The board voted during a special budget meeting this week to keep the property tax rate at about 26 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value for the 2010-11 fiscal year. That means that a homeowner whose property is worth $200,000 would pay about $55, exluding other bills from taxing authorities such as the St. Johns County School Board or the St. Johns River Water Management District, for example.

"In these economic times we didn't want to raise the taxes," said Chairman

Gary Jurenovich. "I'm proud of the guys on the MSD board. They don't just show up once a month at the meeting, they are doing the leg work."

This fiscal year, the board plans to take in $374,917. That's $40,949, or 9.8 percent, less than the last fiscal year. Trustees took in $415,866 in 2009-10, compared to $458,044 in 2008-09. That's a $42,178, or 9.2 percent, reduction.

Board members cut expenditures including $2,000 in advertising by $200 for 2010-11. Also, last year's $3,000 miscellaneous budget was cut by $1,552 to $1,448. …

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