Councilman wants Jacksonville to roll back millage rate for ad valorem tax revenues

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – How does a local government deal with mounting inflation and its effect on people?

That’s a question a member of the Jacksonville City Council wants to tackle. Councilman Danny Becton said he wants the upcoming budget to roll back some taxes.

“The cost of living is just, you know, beyond some people’s means. And at some point, something has to be done to at least begin to stop that domino effect,” Becton said.

Becton has been on the Jacksonville City Council since 2015.

Considering inflation at nearly 8% — a 40-year high — with bills for gas and groceries and everything else on the rise, the second-term councilman wants the mayor’s office to take drastic steps in the budget for 2022-23.

Becton wants the city to roll back the millage rate for ad valorem tax revenues. That’s tax based on property value.

“By rolling back property taxes, this does not mean that our budget is going to be revenue neutral,” Becton said. “To the contrary, we’re going to still see ad valorem taxes go up for new construction, home sales, non-homesteaded properties, businesses,” he said.

In consolidated Jacksonville, the budgeting process takes place over the next few months – as the mayor’s office works with all departments in the city to finalize a budget.

Becton is presenting a resolution so fiscal policy can be set before the administration settles on a balanced budget to submit.

Why does Becton believe the math works?

A natural increase in revenue from the half-cent sales tax, utility services taxes and more. Plus, $171 million from the federal government.

“If you’re ever going to do a roll back or ever even think about doing a roll back, what better time than the present with all of those positive things going on?” he said.

Becton says that City Council, in the past, only gets to set a millage rate after the mayor presents the budget.

He also told me that the anticipated increase in property taxes next year is likely 3%. That’s the cap for homesteaded properties.

About the Author:

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.