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BB commission acts on budget

By Lisa Neff, Islander Reporter

Bradenton Beach commissioners voted last week to move forward with a $2.66 million spending plan for 2010-11 and likely will adopt the budget this week.

The commission, meeting Sept. 7 at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N., also unanimously adopted a resolution setting the proposed millage rate — the rate used to collect property taxes for the city — at 2.1539 mills.

The rate is the same as the rate for the 2009-10 budget and 13.39 percent less than the roll-back rate, which, according to the Manatee County Property Assessor’s Office is 2.4868 mills.

Florida’s Truth in Millage or TRIM law defines the roll-back rate as the millage rate, which, when multiplied times the tax base — exclusive of new construction added to the tax roll — would yield the same amount of revenue for the taxing authority as was yielded by the millage rate levied in the previous year.

In stronger economic times, the tax base rises by virtue of assessment, causing the roll-back rate to be lower than the previous year’s millage rate. But the tax base has declined in Bradenton Beach, and many other Florida municipalities. So, for the upcoming budget, Bradenton Beach would be raising taxes if it used the roll-back rate.

“We sure wouldn’t want to go to the roll-back rate,” Mayor Bob Bartelt said at the Sept. 7 meeting.

The meeting began shortly after 7 p.m., with the mayor and three of the four commissioners at the dais — Gay Breuler was absent — and city clerk Nora Idso at the clerk’s desk.

The audience consisted of a reporter and Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore.

Idso commented, “This is my 10th budget. This is my sixth one as city clerk. The most we’ve ever had in a budget audience is three people and two press.”

When Bartelt opened the budget hearing and invited public comment, there was silence, so he moved on.

The meeting lasted 13 minutes and included three unanimous votes: adoption of a resolution setting the proposed millage, adoption of a budget resolution and approval of a first reading of an ordinance for the 2010-11 budget, which would take effect Oct. 1.

The details

The commission, working with the city clerk and other department heads, held numerous meetings to prepare the budget, beginning in the spring and continuing through July.

From the start, the commission was using a proposed budget that set the tax rate at 2.1539 mills per $1,000 of assessed property value, the same rate used in financing the 2009-10 and 2008-09 budgets.

If the city levies the proposed 2.1539 millage rate, the local tax on a $400,000 home, without taking exemptions into account, would be $861.56.

The overall proposed budget does not call for spending any of the city’s reserves, which was required this year.

It would provide for the elimination of the program/project management department, which would yield a savings of about $115,394.

Some of the cost savings would be used to finance a 5 percent pay raise for city employees.

The mayor has said that employees have not received a raise in three years.

A 5 percent raise for an employee earning the city’s minimum wage would mean 57 cents more per hour or $22.80 more for a 40-hour week.

The budget also contains decreased estimates for fuel costs, employee overtime, professional fees and attorney services.

Overall, the proposed budget is $2,667,114.40 compared with $2,847,301 for 2009-10.

The budget year is from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30; the tax year is from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

The final budget hearing was set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, at city hall.


Now and later

Category 2009-10 budget 2010-11 budget
Millage: 2.1539 mills 2.1539 mills
Roll-back rate: 2.304 mills 2.4868 mills
Ad valorem taxes: $1.07 million $873,808
Total revenues: $2.72 million $2.68 million
Total expenses: $2.84 million $2.66 million
Administration: $360,503 $362,293
Project manager: $115,394 0
Commission: $43,954 $34,200
CRA: $106,000 $105,000
Police: $897,650 $937,226
Emergency Ops: $24,935 $21,000
Planning: $360,169 $26350
Streets/Roads: $190,150 $188,426
Stormwater: $168,300 $159,564
Facilities: $134,700 $140,577
Sanitation: $296,639 $299,372
Capital projects: $112,707 $37,500
Source: Bradenton Beach budget worksheet

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