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Date of Issue: August 25, 2005

Bradenton Beach budget ready - almost - for public scrutiny

The proposed Bradenton Beach budget for the upcoming fiscal year is $3,155,023, up from the current $2,738,119, while the proposed property tax rate has dropped from the current 2.4932 mill to 2.4902.

City property value increases were up significantly from the current budget year to next - the property tax assessments rose from $434,981,500 to $547,400,323 in the past year, and with that increase property taxes rose.

City commissioners will hold public hearings on the budget in September to finalize the budget. The budget and tax rate can be further reduced, but cannot be raised.

The proposed upcoming budget has few surprises from the current operating plan for the city. Some departments have been combined and shifted somewhat - the parks department is now included in the facilities management division, for example - but overall expenditures are only slightly up across the board.

Highlights of the budget:

Police department for fiscal year 2005-06: $810,255, down from the current $812,048. However, Police Chief Sam Speciale has received commission approval to purchase $61,419 worth of radios and computers in the current fiscal year to upgrade the communications system to bring Bradenton Beach in line with other cities and the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Administration for fiscal year 2005-06: $385,567, down from the current $396,700. However, this year’s budget separates city commission salaries and expenses to another category, including a $10,000 line-item for contributions to various other entities in the area.

Planning and development for fiscal year 2005-06: $242,252, up from the current $188,262. Much of the increase is due to additional staff within the department.

Facilities management for fiscal year 2005-06: $151,096, up from the current $51,204.

Stormwater management for fiscal year 2005-06: $128,687, up from the current $79,445. Officials have said that the proposed budget better reflects the revenue generated by the city’s stormwater fee.

Streets and roads for fiscal year 2005-06: $134,721, down from the current $178,242.

Sanitation department for fiscal year 2005-06: $333,447, up from the current $325,000. Sanitation revenue is generated from the garbage, trash and recycling fees.

Capital improvement projects total $782,828, and include other funding sources and transfers for the new bike lane at the south end of the city at $250,000 and pier renovations at $200,000, both of which are from other funding categories.

The first public hearing to establish the tentative property tax rate and budget will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 8, with the final public hearing and approval of the tax rate and budget set for 7 p.m. Sept. 22. Both meetings will be at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N.