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Political Debates
Do you plan to attend any of the political debates planned throughout the county in the coming weeks?

The Dade County Commission was back to square one after the proposed FY2015 budget failed to get a motion for the 44.28 percent tax increase after a lengthy public hearing that drew a standing room only crowd.

That initial budget was $9,363,000 and after hours of working on cuts to services and employees the new budget as presented by Don Townsend is for $8,847,700.

The over $1 million in cuts will still require a tax increase, this time a 25.53 percent increase.

The cuts came at the expense of employees, services and expected energy savings from new office hours and extra unpaid holidays.

In all 42 county employees will be affected by job elimination, lay-offs or furloughs.

The Sheriff’s department came in with the largest cuts when you include the jail with a total of $103,000 being cut from the two on top of cuts that had been made in the previous budget. These cuts resulted in four employees being affected by either elimination or lay-off.

The public works department will have nine employees who will face four week lay-offs at some point during the year as well as losing one employee. These will result in a savings of $43,700.

Public transportation also took a hit as one full time driver was eliminated at a savings of over $50,000. That savings included taking one bus out of service.

Parks and Recreation also will see cuts with a reduction in staff and lay-offs. Also lights and water will be turned off at the park from November through February for additional savings.

Much to the dismay of several of those in attendance the Dade County Public Library will also feel the cuts. This comes after the Dade County Board of Education restored some of the funding they had cut in recent years. The county will cut $10,300 from the library’s budget for FY2015 with the library only receiving a total of $55,600 from the county.

Those in attendance said that will surly result in reduced hours again for the library.

No one seemed to be exempt from the cuts as community fire department will lose part of their supplements and the ambulance lost all seven part time employees. These employees are county EMT’s who fill in and are not part of Puckett Ambulance Service who contracts with the county.

E911 will be cutting two employees as well as making other cut in the department for a total of $77,300 in cuts.

No cuts were made at this time to the Joint Development Authority since two local industries are currently working with the JDA on expansion and not funding the JDA could have a negative effect on those expansions.

The Dade County Chamber of Commerce will feel the cuts as their funding from the county will be down some $9,967 from last year.

While all these cuts and more have reduced the county budget by $1,052,300 a tax increase is still on the horizon.

The current projected increase is 25.53 percent, down from the 44.28 percent increase that was recently rejected by the Commission. This increase is on all revenue and does not mean everyone’s property taxes will increase that much.

The increase is on county taxes only and does not include school taxes. A millage rate of 8.179 mills is an increase of 1.736 mills.
The proposed increase will increase property owner’s taxes of a home with a fair market value of $100,000 about $69.44. The proposed tax increase for non-homestead property with a fair market value of $300,000 is approximately $208.32 according to numbers released by the Dade County Board of Commissioners.

The process of public hearings and another vote on the tax increase will begin next week with the first public hearing scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 21st at noon in the Dade County Administrative Building. The second public hearing will be held that same day at 6 p.m. in the same location.

The third and final hearing will be on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. with a Commission meeting to follow to approve the millage rate and tax increase.

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