Holmes Beach budget hearing draws 1 citizen
Proposed Holmes Beach 2007-08 fiscal year budget
- Federal sources: zero
(0 in 2006-07).
- State sources: $1,038,514
- Local sources: $3,722,177
- Total revenue budget: $8,470,017
*Amount includes the Key Royale
Bridge project, which was later reimbursed by the
- Mayor/commission: $197,472
($223,027 in 2006-07).
- General government:
- Code enforcement: $134,420
- Police: $1,965,469 ($1,991,197).
- Public works:
- Hagen Trust Funds: $33,137
- Stormwater utility:
- Total expenditure budget: $8,470,017
- The proposed property
tax for Holmes Beach is 1.5989 mills per $1,000,
which is a 9 percent decrease from the roll
back rate of 1.7571.
Holmes Beach’s first public hearing on a proposed $8.5 million
budget for the next fiscal year drew one citizen to
The Sept. 4 hearing
lasted less than 15 minutes and resulted in the city commission approving
the first readings on ordinances establishing a millage rate and a 2007-08
fiscal year budget.
citizen who attended the hearing, real estate agent and tax reform activist Barry
Gould, said he was disheartened by the lack of public interest as he praised
Holmes Beach officials for showing budget restraint.
“I’m just shocked,” Gould
said, referring to the “empty room.” “As important a night
as this is.”
He continued, “I
think the city of Holmes Beach has done a great job, been fiscally responsible.... I
think right now you’ve taken responsibility for recognizing there’s
less money in the future and less money next year.”
the hearing opened at 6:30 p.m., not even Gould was in attendance. Present were
Commissioners Pat Geyer, Sandy Haas-Martens, Pat Morton, John Monetti and David
Zaccagnino, Zaccagnino’s young daughter,
Holmes Beach treasurer Rick Ashley, city clerk Brooke Bennett, police chief Jay
Romine and two reporters.
commissioners of the proposed millage rate - 1.5989 mills per $1,000, which
is a 9 percent decrease from the roll-back rate of 1.7571.
A mill is $1
for every $1,000 of assessed value of property less any exemptions. This 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.
Ashley crafted the
budget to comply with a request from the mayor early in the year to prepare a
rollback budget, but also to meet mandates in a tax reform package approved during
a special session of the Florida Legislature. State lawmakers required cities
and counties to cut taxes in the 2007-08 fiscal year to the 2006-07 revenue levels
and to then make an additional cut based on a formula analyzing taxing performance
during the most recent five years. The package also proposed a constitutional
amendment creating a “super exemption” to replace the “Save
our Homes” exemption.
Voters will consider the amendment in January, during the presidential preference
Holmes Beach’s proposed budget
anticipates $8,470,017 in revenues and carryovers, with $3.7 million coming from
local sources, primarily property taxes.
The budget contains
$8.4 million in expenditures, including $2,583,476 for the public works department
and $1,965,469 for the police department.
The largest costs in the public
works budget are personnel, $723,401; capital improvements, $695,000; professional
services, $683,000; repairs and maintenance, $140,000; and utility services,
police department expenses include about $1 million in salaries, $124,000 in
insurance, $75,000 in operating supplies and $55,000 in equipment, including
a $27,000 vehicle.
proposed budget contains $335,000 for stormwater utility improvements compared
to $415,000 budgeted for this year. Planned capital improvements include beautification,
$10,000; trolley shelters, $20,000; the Grassy Point Preserve project, $40,000;
Marina Drive improvements, $200,000; basin improvements, $210,000; and transportation
improvements under the local option gas tax, $215,000.
enforcement expenses are budgeted at $134,420, about $4,000 more than this year.
The budget includes $75,151 for salaries.
government expenses also are increased slightly in the proposed budget, from
$634,278 this year to $635,543 in 2007-08. The largest expense in this category
is for personnel - $317,143, including
$223,853 in salaries. Professional services, which include the city’s legal
expenses, are budgeted at $172,500.
budget for the mayor and city commission is $197,472 compared to $223,027 this
year. This category contains $100,000 for contingencies. The budget also contains
a salary increase for future elected officials - $800 a month for a future
mayor and $500 a month for future commissioners.
Ashley told commissioners
last week that the only change since they first reviewed the preliminary budget
had been revisions to the outside agency funding to provide $8,000 for the Island
County commissioners were considering creating a fare for the trolley to help
balance their budget in the next fiscal year. In an effort to keep the service
free for riders, the county tapped the Manatee County Tourism Development Council
and the three Island cities to underwrite the $50,000 shortfall. The TDC intends
to come up with $26,000, leaving each Island city responsible for $8,000.
for Holmes Beach’s share,
the city reduced funding allocations for other “outside agencies” by
20.94 percent, Ashley said.
outside funding budget allocates $22,541 for the Anna Maria Island Community
Center, $1,454 for the Anna Maria Island Historical Society, $4,362 for Solutions
to Avoid Red Tide, $1,090 for the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, $727
for Keep Manatee Beautiful, $545 for the Anna Maria Island Art League, $1,090
for the Anna Maria Island Community Chorus and Orchestra and $8,000 for the Manatee
County trolley subsidy.
during the hearing, questioned whether the city should dip into its contingency
fund for the trolley money instead of cutting funding to agencies such as the
know where you are coming from,” Haas-Martens
said, but added that the mayor and treasurer reviewed the budget and recommended
using outside agency dollars.
As the short
hearing progressed, Haas-Martens observed, “Still no public. I guess we
are ready to go.”
Zaccagnino commented, “We must be
doing a fine job.”
Soon after, Gould
arrived. He did not address the details of the budget, but instead cautioned
the city that 2008-09 might be an even more difficult year for taxpayers and
their elected officials.
think the thing I want everybody to hear from me,” said Gould, a leader
of the Coalition Against Runaway Taxation, “is that people really are suffering
out there.... I think
we all have to be realizing there is going to be a lot of pain next year.”
next budget hearing in Holmes Beach will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18, at
city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.