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St. Johns River Water Management District adopts final budget


Monitor Editor

The St. Johns River Water Management District governing board gave final approval Sept. 24 to a 2013-2014 budget that reduces the millage rate for taxpayers.

The Board approved a 0.3283 millage rate that will generate $80.6 million toward a $135.5 million budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. The new millage rate is about a 1 percent decrease from the current year’s rate. The budget also will include funding from state, federal and other sources, including revenue from timber sales, cattle leases and permit fees, as well as interest earnings and fund balances.

Under a 0.3283 millage rate – 32.83 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value – the owner of a $200,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption will pay $49.25 in the coming year in property taxes to the district.

“This budget increases funding for restoration projects by nearly 12 percent above last year’s budget and includes funds for 22 cost-share projects that will protect springs, help achieve minimum flows and levels and enhance water supplies,” said Board Chairman Lad Daniels.

The budget includes $10.3 million for springs restoration and protection projects, which includes $4.5 million in district funding and $5.8 million in legislative appropriations. Those funds will be leveraged with local government funds to achieve a total of $46.4 million in springs projects.

The budget also includes funding for:

  • Construction of the Fellsmere Water Management Area and the second phase of the Canal 1 Rediversion Project in Brevard and Indian River counties, which are among the final components of the Upper St. Johns River Basin Project.
  • Projects to reduce nutrient pollution in Lake Apopka in Orange and Lake counties, and Lake George in Putnam and Volusia counties, and downstream water bodies by removing “rough fish” species, primarily gizzard shad.
  • On-farm and regional water management cost-share projects that reduce nutrient discharges to the St. Johns River, improve water conservation, and result in more efficient farm management in the tri-county agricultural area of Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties.
  • Expanding data collection to support priority projects and initiatives.

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