By: Commissioner Brian Hamman
Throughout the past several months we’ve all been warned about higher inflation and now because of the failed economic policies at the national level, we’re seeing it first hand with higher prices at the gas pumps and grocery stores. Fortunately, here at home, your Board of County Commissioners has remained steadfast in building a budget that provides financial stability while making sure our hard-working citizens keep more of their own money.
When commissioners began working on the budget for next year, we focused on three core areas; keeping taxes low, maintaining the level of service our residents expect from us, and moving forward on building much-needed infrastructure. The county not only accomplished each of those goals but did it without borrowing money.
The countywide general fund budget pays for core services regardless of whether you live inside a city or not. It provides for things like the sheriff’s office, ambulance service, and all the local constitutional offices. In September, Lee County will adopt the roll-back property tax rate – a bureaucratic way of saying that we will cut our tax rate to account for increases in property values. The goal is to collect the same amount from you as we did last year.
Recently the U.S. Census provided the population numbers from their 2020 count, and it confirmed what we see every day on our roads – Lee County is growing. To make sure we have the necessary infrastructure to deal with this growth, commissioners have planned to invest $250 Million over the next five years on road projects. These projects include the Littleton Road widening from Corbett to US 41, Big Carlos Pass Bridge replacement, and the widening of Corkscrew Road.
Another project I’m extremely excited about is the adding of shade structures at all of our parks and playgrounds over the next three years. As we all know, these facilities can get extremely hot for our kids during the summer months and these amenities will go a long way towards keeping families safe while they enjoy our world-class parks and playgrounds.
Our citizens have faced adversity before, the Great Recession, the BP Oil Spill, Hurricane Irma, blue-green algae & red tide, and now COVID-19. Each time, our county has continued to grow its economy and remain a destination of choice for businesses and visitors. I am confident that we will do so again, and I promise that the steady leadership you have come to expect from your local elected officials will continue.