In the daily newspaper, Commissioner Mike Whitehead defended his and his fellow Escambia County Commissioners’ decision to not rollback taxes when they had $31 million windfall in property tax revenues – Viewpoint: Necessities, mandates took majority of tax increase. According to Commissioner Whitehead, there was no room in the county’s $455 million budget to make cuts. They needed every penny to meet state mandates and buy necessities.
What Whitehead doesn’t mention in the viewpoint is the County also has another $11.1 million in other revenue increases:
Other taxes: up $5.4 million
License & permits: up $613K
Charges for services: up $3.6 million
Fines & Forfeitures: up $40K
Misc revenue: up $1.5 million
They did reduce what they took out of fund balances by $21.7 million and from intergovernmental accounts by $5.4 million.
The General Fund Reserve Balance is budgeted to increase from $17.1 million to $31.7 million! The reserves in 2003-04 were $8.3 million.
There was/is money available to rollback property taxes.