SJRWMD approves fiscal year 2020-21 budget, cuts tax rate for 8th consecutive year

Tyler Treadway Treasure Coast NewspapersPublished 11:00 AM EDT Sep 23, 2020The St. Johns River Water Managemen

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The St. Johns River Water Management District board Tuesday approved a $242 million budget for fiscal year 2020-21 and reduced the property tax rate for an eighth consecutive year.

The budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 is about 23.4% more than the current year’s budget; and the tax rate is about 5.3% less than the current year’s rate.

The district, which includes Indian River County, has adopted "rolled-back" tax rates rate since 2013-14. The lower rates are calculated to produce as much income as the previous year by taking increased property values into account.

Some homeowners may pay more tax if their property was recently assessed at a higher value.

The new tax rate of 22.87 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value means the owner of a $200,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $34.31 in the coming year in property taxes to the district.

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The budget will fund the district’s major programs, including water supply planning, priority water body and springs restoration and continued cost-share partnerships supporting local communities’ water quality, water supply and flood protection projects.

“Through continued partnerships between the district and local governments and agriculture, we can achieve more for the benefit of Florida’s environment,” said district Executive Director Ann Shortelle. “The new budget dedicates nearly $148 million to cooperative funding projects — an unprecedented number of projects — while also demonstrating responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”

Since 2014, the district’s cost-share partnership efforts have provided about 167 million gallons per day of alternative water supply, protected more than 5,400 acres from flooding and removed nearly 2.2 million pounds of nitrogen and about 407,000 pounds of phosphorus from waterways each year.

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The tax will contribute nearly $90.8 million to the budget, which also is funded through state, federal and other district sources such as timber sales, cattle leases, interest earnings and permit fees.

The final budget will be available online after Oct. 2 on the district’s website,

Tyler Treadway is an environment reporter who specializes in issues facing the Indian River Lagoon. Support his work on  Contact him at 772-221-4219 and
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