The fiscal year ends September 30, 2012. I am pleased to report that our City is closing out the year under budget and without debt and for the first time in our City history we have five consecutive years without a tax increase. We have a healthy reserve fund and over the last six years our City has received $3,934,327.69 in public and private grants. During the 2011-2012 budget year even with the economic down turn our City did not reduce services and with prudent fiscal management at all levels we were able to build a new Public Works Roadway Maintenance Building and construct the Veterans Memorial Pavilion on the City field.
With grant money and funding from our City Storm water Utility we were able to implement major storm water improvements, to alleviate some street flooding during normal rain fall and comply with the Federal Clean Water Act.
Recently our Building Department underwent two independent audits. The first was the Community Rating Service audit which rates our City for compliance with floodplain management. Our City rating was upgraded and our residents are now eligible for an increased flood insurance discount. The second audit rated the department on staffing, plans review and inspections, we were rated at three on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the lowest, with a three rating we scored above most in the State of Florida.
Our roadway maintenance schedule allowed for resurfacing of 10% of our streets and Miami curb replacement on Key Royale funded by the gas tax we all pay at the pump.
The City of Holmes Beach has been recognized by Tree City USA as a Tree City due to our park expansion using unopened right of ways and donated land. The tree plantings consist of donated and grant funded trees in the parks and other locations about the City. Citizens that desire to plant a memorial tree should contact our Public Works Department.
The City Commission authorized the City Dog Park and donations from citizens covered some of costs of enhancements.
Recently there has been much criticism of our Building Department for allowing larger homes to be built. The City Codes have limited the size of homes to 30% of lot coverage since the 1950’s. What is now being built still is limited to the 30% rule. Keep in mind that the founding fathers established the zoning we have today and the R-2 district was always intended to be no less that 50% rentals. The City Commission in recent years limited the R-2 short term rentals to no less than one week. However the State Legislature last year imposed severe restrictions on our ability to address some of the current issues.
In General Government we upgraded our meeting digital recording equipment and software systems. The audio in the Commission Chambers was upgraded and additional speakers installed and our server was replaced and we are in the process of implementing a new email system.
This past year our Police Department filed over one hundred felony charges and received several honors. Officer Copeman was a co- recipient of Manatee County Crime stoppers award named in honor of our Police Chief. Members of the Department received 26 written commendations from the public. Chief Romine received the Past Presidents award from the Florida Police Chiefs Association and was also appointed by the Governor to a third term on the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission
Looking forward to the 2012-2013 fiscal year, I will be asking the Commission to support placing newly hired police into the State Pension plan. This action will in the long term save our tax payers a significant amount of money and protect the current plan for those on pension.
In Code enforcement with the increased issues regarding noise, trash and parking, our maintenance workers carry referral forms to report observations or complaints to the Code Officer. The police on patrol carry Citation books to be used if they cannot resolve things amicably. This policy expanded Code compliance at no additional cost.
Other projects will include Storm water improvements in the 30 th and 31st street area and opening the Grassy Point Preserve to the public as soon as the pathways are shelled. The proposed Boardwalk is currently number three on the FDOT Enhancement Grant list. I expect this project will advance quickly since recent FDOT projects have been coming in with costs below estimates. Lastly, Cross training of existing employees assure continued delivery of services during vacations, illness or unexpected loss of Key employees.
Is this a City in Crises?