Local group wants Volusia County to curb spending



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - As Volusia County leaders review their massive budget, they face strong pressure from residents to cut spending and lower taxes.

A Volusia County group is asking county leaders to look at cutting money to things like landscaping for libraries or an ailing citrus grove in southeast Volusia.

The group led by Volusia County Republican Party Chair Tony Ledbetter criticizes the county for having the third-highest tax rate in the state, according to Florida Taxwatch.

"We're looking at the budget because we don't believe they need a 10 percent (property tax) increase. We believe they can live within their own means," Ledbetter said.

"We found out that this orange grove has been losing money for the last three to five years to the tune of ($300,000) to $500,000," Ledbetter said.

According to county documents the grove is estimated to cost nearly $200,000 per year but generates only $65,000 in citrus sales.

County chair Jason Davis says he is still working to reduce the tax rate. He says saving money in one part of the county budget doesn't mean it can help pay for another.

"There are some budgets and some monies that we can't touch just because it was specific for that fund," Davis said.

County leaders will be voting on the final budget in September.

"We're going to stay in their face until they make the final vote, which is the last council meeting in September," Ledbetter said.