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Date of Issue: July 07, 2010

BB budget season begins

Bradenton Beach Commissioner Janie Robertson studies her notes during a budget meeting June 29 at city hall. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff

The 2010-11 budget season begins this week in Bradenton Beach, with department heads delivering their preliminary calculations for the upcoming fiscal year to the city clerk’s office.

Preliminary work — a sort of spring-training for the new season — concluded last week with the city commission’s review of the 2009-10 budgets for the police and public works departments. The commissioners already had eyed budgets for the clerk’s office and the planning and building department.

On June 29, commissioners reviewed the police budget with Chief Sam Speciale.

The next day, commissioners reviewed the public works budget with director Tom Woodard.

The police department’s total budget for 2009-10 is $973,650. As of June 10, the department had spent about $688,728, leaving 29 percent of funds remaining.

The largest item in the police budget is regular salaries and wages at $475,365. The second largest item in the budget is employee insurance at $140,835.

This year’s budget includes more than $75,000 in federal grant money, used for public safety vehicles, radios, computers and other equipment.

“I can’t say more about the grants that we’ve been getting,” Speciale said. “I’m thrilled. We’d have never been able to do anything like this.”

In their discussion with Woodard, commissioners focused on the possible cost benefits of outsourcing recycling pickup, while continuing the city-operated garbage collection service.

“I don’t see many downsides to it,” Woodard said, provided the department could reassign the two employees from recycling detail to other duties. His department currently is understaffed, he said.

More meetings are planned this month, as city staff, the mayor and commissioners work on the 2010-11 budget, which would begin Oct. 1.

Mayor Bob Bartelt last week issued a statement about the budget process as city clerk Nora Idso issued a call for budget requests from department heads.

“It’s called the mayor’s budget,” Bartelt said. “It’s prepared by staff at my direction. It’s approved by commission.… Stating it’s my budget means I’m taking ownership of it, and, therefore, responsibility for it.”

Bartelt went on to explain the process, including how line items are created at the direction of the Florida comptroller and in accordance with the Uniform Accounting System Manual.

There had been some questions from commissioners about whether line-item names could be changed or line items could be moved from one department to another.