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The Dade County Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting on Thursday, June 19 for the purpose of passing the FY 2015 Budget.

On a motion by Commissioner Scottie Pittman and a second by Commissioner Ricky Breeden the Board unanimously passed a $9,671,950 budget for the fiscal year 2015.

This budget will give county employees a 2.5% raise, their first in some seven years.

All is not good news however as County Clerk Don Townsend pointed out. “The county has been balancing their budget for the past few years using their fund balance, or net worth. That fund balance has been erased and the county now has a negative net worth. Auditors told commissioners earlier this year that a tax increase was a must,” he said.

The tax digest has to be determined before the millage rate can be set and taxes raised. That process is still on-going with the final day for appeals being Monday, June 23, 2014.

Townsend sent an e-mail .last week explaining the process. In part that e-mail read:

“Dade County’s Chief Appraiser Paula Duvall said that all appeals should be finalized on Monday, June 23 and shortly thereafter the Board of Assessor’s will meet to approve the county digest and then roll that information to Jane Moreland, Tax Commissioner of Dade County.

Then, tentative digest consolidation sheets will be produced and reviewed for discrepancies by the Tax Commissioner. Should and material errors be found then the digest will be sent back to the Board of Assessor’s for further review and/or amendments. However, if the consolidation sheets are found to be in order, then Moreland will begin certifying the digest and issue the consolidation sheets to each local governmental entity.

The County will then begin the process of deducing a tentative millage rate for the county. The City of Trenton and The Dade County Board of Education will derive their own numbers from the dame data.”

Townsend went on to explain how long the process would take.

The clock starts ticking after the digest is rolled from the Tax Assessor’s Office to the Tax Commissioner’s Office, the County’s tax digest will be in queue for processing by our third party vendor (Manatrom) who will process the data down into consolidation sheets for the Tax Commissioner’s review.

This could be next week or as long as two weeks from now depending on if any further changes are necessary and/or how many other counties are in front of us to be processed.

Several steps still remain before the Commissioners will have the necessary data to determine what one mill is work in Dade County.

Townsend added that in order to allow enough time to legally publish the Commissioners next upcoming regular meeting agenda I doubt the Commission will have any available data to make an informed decision regarding setting the millage rate at that meeting on July 3.

The County will expedite this data as soon as it is made available to us in order to keep the public fully informed of any possible increases to be made in the County’s millage rate Townsend said.

A special called meeting will likely be called to set the millage rate later in July.

Several questions were ask of the Commissioner’s during Thursday’s meeting concerning the possible millage increase.

The Commissioner’s were ask not to increase the millage rate so much all at one time as numbers indicate a 3 or 4 mill increase is possible.

The next regular meeting of the Dade County Commission will be on Thursday, July 3, 2014 in the Administrative Building meeting room.

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