Bay County’s millage rate likely to increase by one mill

Bay County Government Center
Bay County Government Center(WJHG/WECP)
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:08 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - If you own property in Bay County, you could soon be paying more. Commissioners will vote to raise the millage rate at a special meeting on Tuesday at 5:01 p.m.

“This is really driven by the fact that expenses are increasing, and they’re outpacing revenue that’s available to us as a result of growth,” County Manager Bob Majka said.

It’s been ten years since they last raised the millage rate.

“We asked the Board back earlier this summer to set the millage ceiling at a 1.25 increase,” Majka said.

County officials said public safety expenditures make up half of the General Fund.

“We’re going to ask the Board to reduce that to one mill,” Majka said.

The millage rate represents the amount of property tax charged per every $1,000 worth of property value.

Majka said a number of factors are causing the uptick.

“Increases in retirement contributions [is one.] The State of Florida made some rather significant changes this year to the methods in which we pay first responders their retirement benefits.”

NewsChannel 7 was told the county’s cash reserves are also running low.

“Typically, we try to live within the new revenue that’s generated as a result of the growth rate, and this year, we’re no longer able to do that,” Majka said.

County officials said raising the millage rate is a way to help ease that burden. The increase would generate around $20 million annually for the county. Commissioners will also vote on the budget. The total budget for FY 2024 is close to $561 million. The total budget this year was $465.5 million.