The proposed millage rate for the Town of Orange Park is the same for fiscal year 2022/2023 as for the current fiscal year, 5.8781.
Town Manager Sarah Campbell told the five-member council Tuesday night that the proposed budget has been balanced using the current rate.
Campbell said she received increased staffing requests from the fire chief and the public works director, but did not accommodate those requests in the proposed budget. “If you want to consider either of those or both of those, you would need to go up on your millage rate,” said Campbell to the council.
According to the property appraiser, taxable values increased 10 percent in Orange Park, so even at the current rate, the town will receive more ad valorem taxes if the same rate is adopted later in the budget process.
“It is much easier to go down than it is to go up. This proposed millage that you set tonight is what will go out on the TRIM notices to all of the residents. And once that TRIM notice goes out, if you were to try to go up, you would have to readvertise to the entire town. And there are some other steps you would have to follow,” said Campbell.
Mayor Randy Anderson told the council, “I will not support a tax increase. Everyone out there is having a hard time, and if it comes down to a tax increase, I would rather reduce what we’re doing within the town.” Council members John Hauber, Susana Thompson, and Alan Watt agreed. However, the newest council member, Doug Benefield, remained silent on the matter.
In addition to taxes levied by the town, Orange Park property owners also pay taxes to the county, the school board, and the St. Johns River Water Management District.
There are three workshops scheduled to discuss the proposed budget. The first will be on Monday, August 15. The next meeting is scheduled for a week later, on August 22. The final session is Wednesday, August 24. Each workshop will be in the council chambers at 6 p.m.