White Springs Town Hall.

WHITE SPRINGS — The White Springs Town Council approved setting the maximum millage rate more than 36 percent higher than the rollback rate.

At a July 23 special meeting, the council approved setting the maximum rate at 6 mills for the 2019-20 fiscal year. That rate could — and likely will — be lowered during the budget process. The town historically sets the maximum millage rate at 6 mills before lowering it to the rollback rate at the tentative budget hearing, which is set for Sept. 11 — the town also approved moving its September meeting to Sept. 11 as well.

The town’s rollback rate — or the tax rate that will provide the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year’s rate — is 4.3943. The town’s current rate is 4.4134 mills.

The final budget hearing will be held Sept. 24.

Also during the meeting, the council discussed specifications for the new Carver Community Center with the hopes of moving forward with the plans for the building.

The council decided to move forward with a building that is 50 feet by 80 feet as opposed to a 40-foot by 100-foot building in order to be more aesthetically appealing as well as leaving room for possible add-ons in the future.

During discussion of the building, the council asked Phil Bishop, who is handling engineering on the project for North Florida Professional Services, if the proposed community center would be built to specifications in order to serve as a hurricane shelter.

Bishop said it would not because of the budget for the proposed building.

Mayor Helen Miller told the council, as well as residents, that the Community Development Block Grant that the town applied for to construct the building was for a community center, not a storm shelter.

“Any money saved can go towards making the building more structured to withstand hurricanes,” Bishop said.

The council unanimously approved the building to be 50x80 and requested looking into cost estimates for the possibility of the community center also being able to serve as a storm shelter.

At the start of the meeting, resident Robert Townsend approached the council with a request for a proclamation honoring Kenneth “Kenny” Hutchinson’s decades of dedication to White Springs, including the town and its residents.

Miller thanked Townsend for the request and said she would move forward with the idea in honor of Hutcherson’s dedication and service.

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