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Date of Issue: June 16, 2010

Commissioners hold preliminary budget review

Bradenton Beach officials plan an intensive month of budgetary meetings as they prepare to consider a 2010-11 budget.

Commissioners and Mayor Bob Bartelt met June 8 at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N., for a preliminary discussion on the commission budget, as well as an hour-long talk about whether contracting for recycling services would save the city money.

The recycling discussion came first, and resulted in a commission request for more information, specifically about the number of recycling customers in the city.

A division of the city’s public works department currently collects solid waste as well as recycling from residential and commercial properties.

Commissioners, searching for savings, wondered whether it would be economically beneficial to contract with a company such as Waste Management or Waste Pro for recycling pickup, but not garbage collection.

Public works director Tom Woodard said the city’s current cost for recycling is about $61,000 a year, which includes payments on a 1998 recycling truck. Fees for recycling are currently charged to customers in an overall sanitation bill from the city.

Waste Pro representative Andy Toller said his company could provide recycling service to a residence for about $3 a month and a commercial property beginning at about $25 a month, which, roughly, would total about $54,000 a year for all the recycling customers in the city.

Toller also said the company would negotiate a franchise fee that would result in Waste Pro paying the city a percentage of its revenues from Bradenton Beach.

“We want your business,” Toller said. “We really do.”

Commissioners agreed that they are interested in learning more about contracting for recycling, as well as the impact on eliminating the city’s program on the public works department.

“We would need to know the impact to our staff,” said Commissioner Janie Robertson.

Woodard said two employees currently work about 12 hours a week on the recycling program, and devote their other hours to other duties in public works.

“These two guys are very valuable in a lot of other places,” Woodard said.

If the commission decides to go with a contractor for recycling, they would have to collect bids on the work through a request for proposals.

The commission next turned to its department budget.

“I thought we would be an example,” Robertson said, suggesting that the commission might consider trimming some money from its next budget, or reallocating dollars.

A 2010-11 budget will not be presented until next month. The 2009-10 budget contains $149,954 for the commission. However, that includes the $106,000 community redevelopment agency ad valorem revenue, which can only be used for specific purposes, and $28,800 in regular salaries and $2,204 in taxes.

After looking at the commission budget, Commissioner Gay Breuler commented, “I don’t see how we could cut much of this budget.… We’re hardly talking about any money here.”

Robertson replied, “No Gay, there isn’t a lot, but I think it’s the process that is important.”

One idea, said Robertson, would be to cut unnecessary subscriptions.

Also, she suggested that the next commission budget might not need to include $8,000 for maintaining a fare-free Island trolley.

Perhaps some of that money might be redirected to paying for a redesigned city website, Robertson said.

City clerk Nora Idso suggested that the commission and mayor also examine in detail the 2009-10 budgets for the other departments, possibly reviewing some portions of the budget line by line.

Agreeing, the commission set a schedule with Idso. The administration and building department budget will be reviewed on June 22, the police department and project/program budget on June 29 and the public works department budget on June 30.

Mayor: No staff cuts

Bradenton Beach Mayor Bob Bartelt on June 8 wrote a memo to commissioners and city department heads regarding rumors about staff cuts.

Bartelt, who became mayor June 3 following the resignation of Michael Pierce, said false rumors were circulating about staff being dismissed.

“As of this date no employee has been fired nor lost their job,” Bartelt wrote.

However, he continued, “During the upcoming budget process I and the commission may be forced to make some tough decisions.”