County commission discusses general fund in budget meeting


At a Tuesday morning Special Meeting, the Alachua County Commission discussed the proposed budget for General Government (County Attorney, County Manager, and Communications) and Budget and Fiscal Services.

The board had previously decided to set a roll-back rate for the millage, which is a decreased property tax rate that allows the County to collect the same amount as last year because of increased property values. Because of new construction and renovations that increased the value of existing properties, the reduced millage rate is projected to collect $2 million more than the previous year.

They also previously decided to keep the Fire Assessment flat. Overall, the County expects about a 2% increase in revenues. 

The County has increased their minimum wage (for their own employees) to $14.50/hour in the upcoming budget. 

The total budget increased by $54 million, and the General Fund budget increased by $5 million, about 3% over last year. 

Budget and Fiscal Services did not request any changes in their operations for the upcoming year. 

General Government requested two changes, a Volunteer Coordinator (created in place of another position that is being eliminated, so cost-neutral) and a program that would partner with the Gainesville Opportunity Center (GOC) to provide work experience for adults with mental illness for a potential cost of $31,000 (a representative from GOC called in to say there wouldn’t be any cost if the County let GOC put its workers into existing open jobs).

Most of the commissioners supported the training program, but Commissioner Mike Byerly asked whether Commission Chair Robert Hutchinson, who vocally supported it, would find the money for it. Hutchinson asked staff to add it to the list of things they will sort out at the end of the budget process. 

Hutchinson also proposed putting a Central Receiving Facility on their “wish list.” He suggested that the County put $250,000 toward building the facility, which would be a place where law enforcement could take people with mental illness or addiction instead of taking them to the jail or to a crisis stabilization unit. He said he hoped the ongoing operations could be funded by billing the state for the services. Family members could also take at-risk people to the facility. Hutchinson said, “This is the year to do it. It is part of many people’s ‘defunding the police’ agenda.” He said he had already discussed it with the County Manager, and she said she could probably find the money in “in fund balance or in reserves.”

Commissioner Marihelen Wheeler also supported building the facility. Byerly, too, said he supported it. They agreed to put it on the list of additions they will look at later.

  • Too bad the “Central Receiving Facility” isn’t completed yet. It would be a fine facility to put the nut bag commissioners in.
    Pretty sure Hutchinson would find a way to have taxpayers fund his high speed p0®π, I mean internet, as well.

  • Practitioners of a “retail friction experiment” upon the citizenry now proudly present a “Central Receiving Facility” for all your Technocratic Tyrannical Needs

  • They really need to be reducing their budget because of
    The pandemic. Taxpayers are going to have trouble coming
    Up with the property tax money this year. Especially,
    With some tenants not paying rents and the moratorium
    On evictions. Have they forgotten about all the business
    That had to close because they were deemed “ nonessential”. The local economy is bad and they need to
    Cut back on non essential services until things get better.
    A lot of people have been hurt because of their shutdowns
    & quarantine.

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