Oakland budget includes lowered millage rate

The town of Oakland is continuing its commitment to decrease property tax rates.

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For nearly a decade the town of Oakland had a tradition of setting its millage rate one mill higher than it expected to need — to allow for adjustments when going through the budget process. Commissioners typically lowered it one mill by the final budget hearing.

The final millage rate was 6.75 for nine years.

Last year, town commissioners lowered it to 6.65, and this year’s rate is 6.5.

The Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget is $17.3 million for the town of about 3,300 citizens.

Residents will see several physical changes in the town in the coming year, according to Town Manager Steve Koontz.

The biggest upcoming project is the roundabout on West Oakland Avenue near West Colonial Drive. Although grant money is paying for a large portion of the project, the town still will invest $500,000 in impact fee funds toward the roundabout.

“That’s where our biggest expense is going to be — $500,000 — that’s what we have budgeted for next year,” Koontz said.

He said construction is expected to begin next summer.

Also slated to begin next year is the improvement plan for Speer Park. Among the first additions is a walking path from the park to the arts and heritage center, currently under construction along the West Orange Trail near the Town Square. This path will give park users access to public restroom facilities.

The West Orange Healthcare District Arts & Heritage Center at Oakland is another of the town’s large projects, much of which has been paid for with significant grant monies.

Water system enhancements are in the works, as well, Koontz said.

A look at the town of Oakland’s current and last two budget summaries shows some differences in numbers. Koontz explained that there has been an incremental increase in the budget as new development has come onto the tax rolls and that the FY 2019-20 budget has a significant increase due to the various impact fees that have been collected.




Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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