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Date of Issue: July 30, 2008

Holmes Beach keeps 2007-08 millage rate, cuts budget

Holmes Beach city commissioners authorized the mayor to sign papers setting the 2008-09 maximum millage rate at the 2007-08 level: 1.5989 mills.

The commission also explored a draft of the proposed 2008-09 budget, presented July 22 by city treasurer Rick Ashley.

“I’m very pleased to be here tonight talking to you about a balanced budget that isn’t going to be real painful,” Ashley said. “The reason it has come out better than it could have been is because in the years when we had extra money we did not spend that money for ongoing expenses.”

During the recent boom years in Holmes Beach and much of Florida, Ashley said the city invested in capital improvements such as stormwater, dredging and street projects.

“We spent those dollars on major construction, one-time projects, and that is the one thing that helped me this year in putting together this budget with last year’s millage rate,” he said.

Reports during the last several months, from the state to the municipal level, have indicated that drastic cuts in government expenses will lead to layoffs and reduced services in some governments.

Ashley said Holmes Beach’s proposed 2008-09 budget of $7.96 million is $502,294 less than the 2007-08 budget, yet the city staff still will see a 3 percent cost-of-living increase in their salaries and no one will be laid off.

The treasurer said in the new budget, stormwater improvements will be funded only from the improvements fund and not include money from the general fund.

Additionally, the 2007-08 budget contained funding for improvements to Marina Drive and a higher funding level for reserves.

During the July 22 meeting, Ashley recommended commissioners approve a maximum millage rate of 1.5989 mills per $1,000, although city could have gone as high as 1.9075 with the rate.

“We thought it would be really great to hang it in at 1.5989 mills,” Commission Chair Sandy Haas-Martens said. “Let the citizens take a break.”

“A lot of people need that,” Commissioner John Monetti said. “It’s a good budget.”

A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value of property less any exemptions. The rate can be lowered through the adoption of the budget at public hearings on the spending plan, but it cannot be raised by elected officials.

For a house valued at $525,000 in Holmes Beach, minus $25,000 homestead, the property tax bill from the city for the next year would be $799.45.

“This budget is proposed at 1.5989 mills,” Ashley said. “The budget that’s presented here is basically a continuance of existing services. There are no cuts in services. No cuts in positions. It includes a cost-of-living raise for 3 percent. It includes any step raises.… It’s basically a continuance of business as usual.”

Holmes Beach’s proposed budget anticipates $7.96 million in revenues and carryovers, with $3.36 million coming from local sources, primarily property taxes.

The budget contains $7.96 million in expenditures.

The proposed budget for the mayor/city commission is $161,745 and includes $45,345 in personnel costs, $100,000 for reserve contingencies, $5,400 for training and memberships, $9,000 for travel and $2,000 for operating supplies.

The general government expenditures total $658,284 and include $332,784 for personnel, $178,000 for professional services such as legal expenses, $40,000 for insurance, $21,500 for accounting and auditing, $16,000 for utilities and $17,000 for operating supplies.

The police department budget totals $2,018,926 and includes $1.6 million for personnel costs, $124,000 for liability, auto and workers compensation insurance, $85,000 for operating supplies, $32,000 for repairs and maintenance and $18,000 for utilities.

The public works budget totals $2,057,835 and includes $803,810 for personnel costs, $532,000 for professional services, $125,000 for utility services, $87,000 for insurance, $90,000 for repairs and maintenance and $85,000 for operating supplies.

The code enforcement budget of $142,296 contains $124,596 for personnel costs and $16,600 for operating expenses.

The proposed budget for stormwater utility projects is $250,000, including $210,000 in capital outlay.

Mayor Rich Bohnenberger said the stormwater improvement work would probably be the city’s largest efforts in the next several years.

“We’re pretty much caught up on our infrastructure needs,” he said. “We don’t have any real big needs at this time. And we could possibly finish up the dredging this year.”

The proposed budget also includes the Hagen Fund, $13,137 in donations for eventual lighting of the Birdie Tebbetts Field and the carryover and reserve account would contain $2.66 million.

A public hearing on the budget will take place at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8. The hearing is the night before a regular commission meeting because the Manatee County School Board has scheduled a budget hearing Sept. 9. State law prohibits a municipal budget hearing from taking place at the same time as a county or school district hearing.

 

Proposed Holmes Beach 2008-09 fiscal year budget

Revenue/carryover

  • Federal sources: 0 (0 in 2007-08).
  • State sources: $958,835 ($1,038,514).
  • Local sources: $3,366,688 ($3,722,177).
  • Carryovers/reserves: $3642,200 ($3,709,326).
  • Total revenue budget: $7,967,723 ($8,470,017).
  • Expenditures
  • Mayor/commission: $161,745 ($197,472 in 2007-08).
  • General government: $658,284 ($635,543).
  • Code enforcement: $142,296 ($134,420).
  • Police: $2,018,926 ($1,965,469).
  • Public works: $2,057,835 ($2,583,476).
  • Hagen Trust Fund: $13,137 ($33,137).
  • Stormwater utility: $250,000 ($335,000).
  • Carryovers/reserves: $2,665,500 ($2,585,500).
  • Total expenditure budget: $7,967,723 ($8,470,017).

Millage rate

  • The proposed property tax for Holmes Beach is 1.5989 mills per $1,000, the same as last year.

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