Posted On: May 19, 2020
In Nov. 7, 2000, Volusia County voters approved two ballot initiatives establishing the Volusia ECHO and Volusia Forever programs. The programs were created to support land preservation efforts and environmental, cultural, historic and outdoor recreational facilities. They’re funded by an ad valorem property tax that was capped at an annual maximum of 1/5 of a mill for 20 years. Pursuant to the 2000 ballot language, the tax levies that fund the programs are set to expire next year. On June 2, 2020, the County Council decided to put the programs and related tax levies on the ballot to ask voters if they want them to continue for another 20 years. The two ballot questions will appear on the General Election ballot on Nov. 3, 2020. In preparation for the referendum, both ECHO and Volusia Forever recently were audited by the County’s internal auditor. The results of the audits as well as additional information regarding ECHO and Volusia Forever can be found on this page by following the links below.
Volusia ECHO provides grant funds to finance acquisition, restoration, construction or improvement of facilities to be used for environmental, cultural, historical and outdoor recreational purposes. Pursuant to its adopting resolution, it is the intent of the County Council that the funds be allocated throughout the County to provide broad geographical distribution and apportioned appropriately among the environmental, cultural, historic and outdoor recreation projects. The Volusia ECHO Program seeks to enhance the quality of life of Volusia County's residents. The goals of the program are to: preserve significant archaeological or historic resources; develop, enhance and promote heritage tourism opportunities, experiences and resources; foster public memory and community identity by promoting and providing access to destinations and experiences associated with past events, peoples and places within Volusia County; provide high quality, user-oriented outdoor recreational opportunities including, but not limited to, access to the Atlantic Ocean through the establishment of oceanfront parks and off-beach parking; and providing access to the cultural arts, increasing cultural-based tourism and encourage redevelopment and revitalization of downtown and urban areas through the provision of cultural arts facilities.
Volusia Forever finances the acquisition and improvement of environmentally sensitive, water resource protection, and outdoor recreation lands, and the management of these lands as conservation stewards in perpetuity. The goals of the program are to: conserve, maintain and restore the natural environment and provide access for the enjoyment and education of the public; provide resources to ensure that sufficient quantities of water are available to meet current and future needs; meet the need for high-quality resource based outdoor opportunities, greenways, trails, and open space; preserve the habitat and water recharge; and ensure that the natural resource values of such lands are protected and that the public has the opportunity to enjoy the lands to their fullest potential.