The new budget year begins Oct. 1.

Okaloosa County officials anticipate keeping the existing residential property tax rate of 3.43 mills, or $343 per $100,000 of assessed value, for fiscal year 2018.

The new budget year begins Oct. 1.

“Property values are projected to increase 4.6 percent with ad valorem revenue increasing (by) approximately $2,394,000,” County Administrator John Hofstad said in a recent budget letter to the County Commission.

Increases in property tax revenue as well as sales tax revenue, however, were offset by declines in state revenue sharing and cash carried over from the existing budget, according to county information. Still, next year’s budget will likely end up larger than the current one.

“After several rounds of cuts necessary to balance the budget against projected revenues, the total budget across all funds for FY 2017-18 is $371,680,960,” Hofstad said in the letter.

That spending plan represents an increase of almost $2.9 million, or about 0.8 percent, above the current budget.

For the new budget, county staff recommends the commission approve 27 of the 53 positions requested by county department heads.

The recommended positions include a construction inspector, a pretrial officer to help with the growing inmate population at the jail, and 16 EMS positions. The latter positions will help complete the EMS Division’s transition, which began in May, from 24-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts.

Other recommended positions will be discussed at the commission’s remaining public budget workshops:

8:30 a.m. Monday at the county Administration Building, 1250 N. Eglin Parkway, Shalimar 8:30 a.m. July 31 at Crestview City Hall, 198 N. Wilson St. 8:30 a.m. Aug. 7 at the county Administration Building The commission’s public budget hearings are set for 5:01 p.m. Sept. 5 in Crestview and 5:01 p.m. Sept. 19 in Shalimar.

In the new fiscal year, county officials anticipate the completion of the $11.5 million courthouse in Crestview. The building will provide space for the clerk of court, court administration, judges, pretrial services and the County Commissioners meeting chambers, and is scheduled to be completed by next summer.