With a Blue School Grant, students from Creekside High School visited locations along the St. Johns River to test water quality and become more familiar with local community features they have been learning about in class.

Budget includes $7.67 million for several Lake Apopka projects, including enhancements to the marsh flow-way system

From the St. Johns River Water Management District

The St. Johns River Water Management District’s Governing Board on Tuesday adopted its fiscal year 2020-2021 budget and reduced its millage rate for an eighth consecutive year, keeping taxes low while providing significant funds for water resource protection and cost-share projects. District programs and projects help to ensure sustainable water resources, increase water conservation, provide flood protection and protect water quality in springs and other priority water bodies across 18 counties in east-central and northeast Florida.

“Through continued partnerships between the District and local governments and agriculture, we can achieve more for the benefit of Florida’s environment,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. “The new budget dedicates nearly $148 million to cooperative funding projects — an unprecedented number of projects — while also demonstrating responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”

The District’s cost-share partnership efforts since 2014 have provided for approximately 167 million gallons per day (mgd) of alternative water supply, conserved nearly 21 mgd of water, protected more than 5,400 acres from flooding, reduced total nitrogen loading by nearly 2.2 million pounds per year, and total phosphorus loading by approximately 407,000 pounds per year.

The adopted 0.2287 millage rate will result in nearly $90.8 million in revenue toward a total $242 million budget for fiscal year 2020‒2021, which begins Oct. 1, 2020. The budget is also funded through state, federal, and other district sources (including timber sales, cattle leases, interest earnings, and permit fees).

The budget adopted by the board is approximately 23.4 percent more than the current year’s budget. The millage rate is about 5.3 percent less than the current year’s tax rate. In order to reduce the burden of taxpayers, the District has adopted the rolled-back millage rate since FY 2013–14.

Under a 0.2287 millage rate — 22.87 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value — the owner of a $200,000 house with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $34.31 in the coming year in property taxes to the District.

The budget will fund the District’s major programs, including water supply planning, priority water body and springs restoration, and continued cost-share partnerships supporting local communities’ water quality, water supply, and flood protection projects.

Budget highlights include:

  • More than $147.85 million in cooperative funding to support water projects in economically disadvantaged rural communities and for innovative technologies, as well as springs and priority water body protection and restoration, water conservation initiatives with public water suppliers, and projects to enhance the reuse of reclaimed water.
  • $7.67 million in state funds for several Lake Apopka projects, including enhancements to the marsh flow-way system.
  • $9.04 million for springs protection projects.
  • Continued evaluation the Black Creek Water Resource Development project ($48.34 million) to provide approximately 5-10 mgd in aquifer recharge to the Keystone lakes region when complete.

The final budget will be available online after Oct. 2, 2020, on the district’s website,www.sjrwmd.com. 

St. Johns River Water Management District staff are committed to ensuring the sustainable use and protection of water resources for the benefit of the people of the District and the state of Florida. The St. Johns River Water Management District is one of five districts in Florida managing groundwater and surface water supplies in the state. The District encompasses all or part of 18 northeast and east-central Florida counties. District headquarters are in Palatka, and staff also are available to serve the public at service centers in Maitland, Jacksonville and Palm Bay.,

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