Commissioners approve preliminary 2016-17 budget

The Department’s total preliminary budget is $20.7 million

BARTOW, Fla. – The Florida Citrus Commission approved a preliminary 2016-17 budget for the Florida Department of Citrus based on an estimate of 58.1 million boxes of oranges and 8.765 million boxes of grapefruit.

Presented Tuesday, the Department’s total preliminary budget is $20.7 million with an overall budget reduction of $9.6 million or 32 percent over the previous year.

The preliminary budget includes salary reductions of $1.4 million, general operations reductions of $1.2 million and program budget reductions of $8.5 million.

The budget is based on a tax assessment rate projection of $.10 per box of processed oranges, all grapefruit and processed specialty as well as $.05 per box of fresh oranges and $.07 per box of fresh specialty. The projected carryover needed from the current season to support this budget is about $1 million.

The budget also includes $7.65 million in general revenue funds from the State of Florida. Those will be used primarily in marketing and public relations while $650,000 goes to New Varieties research. The international marketing budget also includes $4.3 million in Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Market Access Program funds from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Commissioners will set tax rates in October, after the initial USDA citrus crop forecast. Several factors will be used to determine the appropriate final tax rate for the season, including crop size, import projections, carryover and fund balance.

By approving a preliminary budget, Commissioners authorize Department staff to begin work immediately on programs for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which begins on July 1. Grower assessments will not be collected until after the rate is set in October.

About the Florida Citrus Commission

The Florida Citrus Commission is the governing board of the Florida Department of Citrus, an executive agency of the Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. The commission is a nine-member board appointed by the governor to represent citrus growers, processors and packers. FDOC activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs nearly 62,000 people and provides an annual economic impact of nearly $10.7 billion to the state. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.