Budget Glossary

Ad Valorem – a tax based on the value of real estate or personal property. Property ad valorem taxes are the major source of revenue for state and municipal governments.

Appropriation – legal authorization given by the County Commission to make expenditures and incur obligations using County funds.

Assessed Value – the valuation of real property established by the Property Appraiser as a basis for levying taxes.

Bond – a special type of “loan” that provides funding for capital projects. Local governments are prohibited from borrowing funds to cover standard operating expenses.

Capital Budget – one component of the County's budget (the other two are Debt Service Budget and Operating Budget). The capital budget includes money set aside for construction and infrastructure projects and land acquisitions.

Constitutional Officers – elected officials including the Sheriff, Supervisor of Elections, Property Appraiser, Clerk of Court, State Attorney and Public Defender. Constitutional Officers account for more than 50 percent of the County's general fund revenue.

Debt Service Budget – one component of the County's budget (the other two are Capital Budget and Operating Budget). The debt service budget is money used to repay bond issues.

Enterprise Fund – the funding source for county agencies that are self-supporting, such as Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Broward County’s resource recovery facilities and water and wastewater facilities.

Fiscal Year – the 12-month financial period in which funds are appropriated and accounted for by the County, which begins October 1 and ends September 30 of the following year. A fiscal year is identified by the year in which it ends.

Fund – monies set aside and accounted for separately in order to ensure that the monies are spent for a specific purpose.

Fund Balance – the balance remaining after accounting for all liabilities and revenue incurred during that year, plus the previous year’s fund balance. It is calculated at the end of each fiscal year.

General Fund – the $3.3 billion County budget is comprised of three major fund categories: General Fund, Enterprise Fund and Other Funds. The General Fund is the funding source for county agencies that are not self-supporting, such as parks, libraries, transit, and the Constitutional Officers. The primary source of funding for the General Fund (69 percent) is property tax revenues. Other sources include fees and charges (12 percent), transfers and fund balance (13 percent), and sales tax and state revenue sharing (6 percent). The General Fund budget is $975 million annually.

General Fund Reserves – The County keeps two categories of reserves in the General Fund. One is money which is set aside to deal with unanticipated situations such as potential catastrophes or severe revenue shortfalls. The other is money which is set aside to plan for known expenses that will occur in the future.

Homestead Exemption – Florida’s Constitution grants permanent, legal Florida residents up to a $50,000 homestead exemption on the assessed value of their property for ad valorem tax purposes. The exemption restricts taxing authorities from taxing the first $25,000 - $50,000 value of homes, condominiums, co-op apartments, and certain mobile home lots, depending on the value of the property. Permanent residency is determined by occupancy of the property on January 1 of each year. The exemption is not automatic. Residents must file a homestead exemption with the County Property Appraiser’s office. About 60 percent of the property in Broward County is homesteaded. Property not eligible for homestead exemption includes rental, seasonal and commercial/business property.

Mandates – required payments to the state and federal government for such things as juvenile detention costs and Medicaid match, early voting costs, post-9/11 security costs, and operating costs to expand the jail system to avoid overcrowding, which is prohibited by federal court order. These mandates have a significant impact on the County’s annual budget.

Millage Rate – the tax rate applied to the taxable value of each resident’s real property. It is set by the County Commission and based on “mills.” One “mill” is equal to $1 per $1,000 of taxable property value. Broward County’s current millage rate is 5.3889 mills including millage for voter approved bonds.

Operating Budget – one component of the County's budget (the other two are Debt Service Budget and Capital Budget). The operating budget supports ongoing services and programs.

Other Funds – the funding source for self-supported county agencies with dedicated taxes or fees, such as the Tourist Development Fund, or the County Transportation Trust Fund.

Performance Measure – a means used for evaluating programs, for improving decision-making, and for communicating program accomplishments.

Property Tax base – total value of land and property upon which a taxing authority can levy taxes. The tax base is often different from the total property value in any area because some types of property, like schools and government facilities, are exempted from property taxes.

Property Tax Rate – the taxable value of a property multiplied by the Millage Rate and divided by 1,000.

Reserves – funds set aside for a specific purpose or for future or unanticipated expenditures.

Revenue – the taxes, fees, charges, special assessments, grants and other funds collected and received by the county in order to support the services provided.

Rolled – Back Rate – a tax rate that generates the same amount of dollars as the current year given the new tax roll plus the taxes generated by new construction. This is a state-required calculation to explain any increase or decrease in property taxes from one year to the next.

Save Our Homes – an amendment to the Florida Constitution that places a three percent cap on any increase in the value of property that can be taxed each year. The amendment protects residents living in homesteaded property from dramatic increases in their taxes.

Taxing Authority – an entity with authority to impose a tax on property. Broward County has more than 80 taxing authorities, including municipalities, the Broward County School Board, hospital districts, water districts, etc. Because Broward County bills and collects taxes on behalf of the taxing authorities, many residents think all their taxes go the County. In fact, 76% of revenue collected is directed to other taxing authorities.

TRIM Notice – an acronym for the Truth In Millage Law, passed in 1980 by the Florida state legislature. It was designed to keep the public informed about the taxes as proposed by local taxing authorities. The TRIM notice is the Notice of Proposed Property Taxes required by this law. All property owners should receive a TRIM notice each August.

Zero – Based Outcome Budgeting – a budget process that evaluates, justifies and prioritizes programs for funding each year based on data and results. This type of budget process has been used by Broward County for the past several years to ensure wise use of taxpayer dollars on programs and services.​​