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Date of Issue: August 13, 2008

No problems with Anna Maria budget

Anna Maria city commissioners breezed through their Aug. 7 budget workshop, praising the city staff for its preparation and the detailed format of the spending plan.

With no disagreements on the proposed $3.96 million budget for 2008-09, commissioners canceled their planned Aug. 19 work session, opting instead to skip ahead to the first public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 10.

While the $3.96 million is a record for the city, $1 million is from the city’s line of credit and will fund Phase I of its stormwater improvements project.

Commissioners also learned from County Commissioner Carol Whitmore that $8,000 budgeted to help the county operate the Island trolley will eventually be returned to the city as its share of revenue generated from a proposed plan for advertising on the trolleys.

Although the 2008-09 budget is “bare bones,” said Mayor Fran Barford, it “does not jeopardize the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Anna Maria.”

Commissioners also praised the new budget format, which is department-driven rather than “usage-driven” as in prior budgets.

With the new format, commissioners can easily see what each department plans to spend during the fiscal year, Commissioner Dale Woodland noted.

“It’s much easier to read,” added Commission Chairman John Quam.

The proposed millage rate for this year’s budget is 1.7882, the same as last year, city treasurer Diane Percycoe said. The final millage rate will be established by the commission at a public hearing.

Under Florida law, once a city has established a tentative millage rate for its budget, it can only lower that rate, not raise it.