LAUREL HILL — The City Council is finalizing the 2015 fiscal year budget, and the proposal is down compared to last year's budget.
With expenses and revenues from the city’s enterprise operating fund – or water department –and general operating fund, officials expect less income.
Last year, the city projected $22,666 in total income. This year, the city projects to earn $609,392.
The decrease from the previous budget primarily comes from the county’s local option fuel tax, Mayor Robby Adams said. Last year’s budget reflected the county commission-approved 3 cent fuel tax increase. Thirty-six percent of the fuel tax revenue benefits Okaloosa County municipalities.
The city initially set a $40,000 budget for the local option fuel tax, but just $30,345 is projected for the end of this fiscal year. The 2015 budget listed $30,000 for the tax.
Laurel Hill will maintain a 3.5 millage rate per $1,000 for ad valorem taxes, according to the proposed budget.
Adams said a $600,000 grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will help the city. After a third attempt, the Laurel Hill was awarded the Florida Small Cities Community Development Block Grant in July. The grant will be used for much-needed road repairs.
Adams said he is unsure if the grant will be included as part of the general operating fund in the 2015 budget.
The first public hearing on the budget and millage rate is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at city hall.
The final public hearing is Sept. 18, at the same time and location. That night, the council will vote to adopt the millage rate and budget.