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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jul. 27, 202110:20 PM EST

Council votes 12-4 to keep Duval County property tax millage rate unchanged

The rate is part of Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed $1.41 billion operating budget.
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

The Jacksonville City Council voted 12-4 on July 27 to keep Duval County’s property tax millage rate unchanged for another year despite some members calling for it to be reduced.

The rate in Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed $1.41 billion 2021-22 fiscal year city operating budget will remain at $11.4419 per $1,000 of taxable property value.

The Council set the tax rate for the Beaches at $8.1512 per $1,000 of taxable value and the city of Baldwin at $9.6312 per $1,000 of taxable value.

All seven of Curry’s proposed budgets since 2015 have kept the rate flat.

Although the millage rate is stable, property owners could see an increase in their bills because of increasing property values.

That caused Council members Rory Diamond and LeAnna Cumber to vote against the millage rate.

Diamond said that although he supports much of Curry’s budget, he would not vote for a millage rate that would see many property owners paying more.

He also said that is why he voted against Curry’s budget last year.

“We’ve had a boom in the value of real estate and we’re all going to pay more,” Diamond said.

Council member LeAnna Cumber said the higher revenue expected from increased property values coupled with one-time federal dollars and other local tax increases are reasons to lower the millage. 

Jacksonville received $171.8 million for fiscal year 2021-22 from the federal American Rescue Plan Act with another $171 million is expected the following year. 

The city and the Jacksonville Transportation Authority also will bring in more money starting Jan. 1 from the 6-cent local option gas tax increase Council approved in May.

Cumber noted taxpayers also are paying more after voters approved a ½-cent sales tax increase last year to fund nearly $1.9 billion in infrastructure projects for Duval County Public Schools.

Council members Al Ferraro and Michael Boylan also voted no on the millage rate.

Council member Matt Carlucci said a steady millage with a growing property tax base will help the city keep up with its needs. Council rejected his proposal last year to raise the rate by ¼-mill.

“We can’t run a city on the cheap,” Carlucci said. 

“And thank goodness we still have the ability to take advantage of growth.”

Council members Tommy Hazouri, Ju’Coby Pittman and Garrett Dennis were absent.

The Council Finance Committee is scheduled to review Curry’s proposed budget and $494.7 million Capital Improvement Plan in hearings Aug. 12-13; 19-20; and 25-27. 

The budget then will be sent to the full Council for final approval.

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