After a decade of holding the millage rate at 6.75 and then lowering it last year to 6.65, the town of Oakland is proposing to lower it again to 6.5 mills for Fiscal Year 2019-20. Mayor Kathy Stark said this would move Oakland from the second-highest tax rate to the third-highest in Central Florida — and would make it lower than the city of Orlando.
Millage rates are the tax rates used to calculate local property taxes. The rate represents the amount per every $1,000 of a property's assessed value. The millage rate is multiplied by the total taxable value of the property to get the property taxes.
The Oakland Town Commission voted on the tentative rate and set the tentative budget at its July 23 meeting. Oakland’s budget is broken down into two categories. The proposed budget for the General Fund is $5,203,548; the Utility Fund is proposed at $2,489,630. Impact fees bring the budget total to $10,863,449.
This is the first year the individual impact fees were broken out and budgeted for projects.
The town-owned Oakland Avenue Charter School operates on its own budget schedule.
When preparing the budget, the town looks at reducing the millage rate while, at the same time, setting aside adequate reserves and planning for infrastructure projects.
Town Manager Steve Koontz gave a presentation at the meeting with a breakdown of the more significant points in the proposed budget.
In the General Fund, property values have increased by 24%, the funding for Orange County Fire Rescue increased by $120,508, and the town expects to lease new police vehicles. The General Fund also includes a new full-time construction inspector position to replace a part-time position, funding for a maximum 3% salary increase for staff and increased funding for the Oakland Nature Preserve.
General Fund reserves are estimated at $240,308.
The Utility Fund includes a 5% projected increase in water revenue, state funding for the next phase of the wastewater project, funding for a new utility vehicle, funding for a maximum 3% salary increase for staff and funding for pump replacement.
Reserves for the Utility Fund are estimated at $962,751.
Impact fee expenses include water-system capacity improvements at several locations, improvements to Speer Park, the Oakland Avenue roundabout, transportation study and design, and property acquisition.
Budget public hearings are set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24.
IN OTHER NEWS:
• The Town Commission agreed to table a vote on the second reading of the proposed Comprehensive Plan amendment from Orange County rural to Oakland mixed-use activity center for two parcels of property along West Colonial Drive. The applicant, Gary English, requested the vote be tabled, and the commission granted it be tabled until the Sept. 24 meeting. The first reading was denied at an earlier meeting.
• Commissioners approved a separate mental health plan for Oakland Avenue Charter School at a cost of $13,139. Last year, the school participated in the Orange County Public Schools’ district mental health plan, which required forfeiture of the funding allocation.