Formal Budget Kickoff for Flagler County Begins

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Flagler County Administrator Heidi Petito on Tuesday (February 7) kicked off the formal budget process with a pair of meetings – a morning session with department heads and an afternoon session with the constitutional officers – to go over the guidelines and expectations for the coming year. Top on the list for the Board of County Commissioners is to hold the line on expenses, provide more transparency for the public, and to engage citizens before finally adopting the budget on September 19, 2023.

“The Fiscal 2024 budget will be developed with a focus on funding alignment with state statute – what is constitutionally required of county government – as well as a nexus to our Strategic Plan,” Petito said at the regular meeting of the Board in preparation for the kickoff. “We are also identifying those legacy expenditures that do not align so that we can establish a long-term plan moving forward that unwinds them and reassigns them where they should be – or establishes some other means besides the General Fund for paying for them.”

Petito also spoke of the need for consistent budgets with the detail at the same level as the Board of County Commissioners for increased transparency.

“This includes details up to the sub-object level, as required by statute, and a budget schedule that allows for more citizen engagement opportunities,” Petito said. “We will continue to be mindful of the economic impacts we face as we move forward with a degree of uncertainty, and we are ensuring that we have the financial feasibility in order to be successful.”

Any request for funding over and above what is provided for in the current base budget will require a “decision unit” – documentation of all the details, including ancillary expenses that support the request.

“As good stewards of the taxpayers’ money we continue to save where we can,” Petito said. “As a coastal community, we want to ensure we continue to strengthen our reserves and have an effective financial plan.”

The upcoming public meeting dates regarding the budget are as follows:

  • June 5 (Monday) General Fund workshop
  • June 12 (Monday) Constitutional Officers workshop
  • June 19 (Monday) workshop about all other funds and Capital Improvement projects
  • June 26 (Monday) reserved for an additional workshop, if necessary
  • July 10 (Monday) present Board of County Commissioners with tentative budget, set proposed Millage Rate, announce first public hearing date
  • August 7 (Monday) adopt Capital Improvement projects, present final Proposed Budget to the Board of County Commissioners, provide policy updates
  • TENTATIVE August 21 (Monday) hold additional budget workshop meeting, if necessary
  • September 6 (Wednesday) first Truth in Millage (TRIM) public hearing to adopt: tentative millage rates, assessment fees, tentative budget, as well as to set the final public hearing date, time, and location
  • September 18 (Monday) final public hearing to adopt the final millage

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By Julie Murphy

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