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Date of Issue: September 17, 2008

Commission votes to lower millage rate, set budget

Bradenton Beach commissioners voted Sept. 10 to lower the city’s tax rate from 2.2579 mills to 2.1539 mills.

The commission, during the 10-minute meeting, also tentatively approved a $3.56 million budget for the fiscal year 2008-09, which came down from $3.68 million in 2007.

The vote followed a public hearing at city hall, 107 Gulf Drive N. One citizen, former Mayor Connie Drescher, attended the hearing along with several members of the press.

Drescher asked one budgetary question, whether the stormwater budget varied from year to year.

City clerk Nora Idso, who helped draft the budget, said the expense and revenue remains steady because “we have not raised stormwater rates.”

Drescher also observed the lack of attendance from residents.

“You probably won’t have any citizens at the final hearing either,” she said. “But they’ll complain afterward.”

Present at the dais were Commissioners John Chappie, Janie Robertson, John Shaughnessy and Mayor Michael Pierce. Bob Conners did not attend the hearing.

The commission reviewed a draft budget in July and the document has not changed since then, Idso said.

At that meeting, Idso, Bradenton Beach Police Lt. John Cosby and deputy city clerk Christina Irelan reviewed the spending plan with the commissioners.

To balance the budget and meet citizens’ mandates for tax reform, Cosby said the budget calculators recommended shifting money from two capital projects and dipping into reserves to meet an anticipated $171,224 drop in revenue.

The budget does not contain raises for city employees - neither cost-of-living increases nor merit-based pay increases.

Also, the budget increases the amount of the employees’ health care co-pay and deductible responsibilities, though the city continues to fund 100 percent of health insurance premiums.

The budget also contains a staff recommendation that the city commission select a primary attorney to avoid redundancies in legal services.

Specifically, administrative expenses in the budget total $380,655.92, with salary being the highest expense at $189,420. This budget also includes other personnel costs, as well as $28,000 in attorney fees.

Commission expenses total $195,569 and the project and program manager budget total is $110,598, with salaries at $55,100. The budget also includes additional personnel costs and $4,000 in attorney fees.

The police department budget totals $875,387, with salaries at $482,300. Attorney fees are budgeted at $2,000 and costs for gas, oil and tires are budgeted at $36,000.

The city’s emergency operations budget is proposed at $23,935, with telephone operation being the highest expense at $12,000.

In the planning and development department, the largest expense is salaries and wages at $216,775, followed by attorney fees at $108,000.

The budget for facilities management includes $56,000 in salaries and $20,000 in building repairs and maintenance.

The streets and roads budget is $187,107, with salaries projected at $84,000, insurance at $11,757, attorney fees at $3,000 and gas and oil at $3,000.

The sanitation budget is $321,490, with salaries at $95,680, landfill tipping fees at $88,000, professional services at $4,000, accounting and auditing costs at $4,000 and equipment repair and maintenance at $20,000.

The stormwater management expenses are budgeted at $159,629 and pier operations at $49,337, including $2,200 for accounting and auditing, $500 for attorney fees, $5,000 for insurance, $7,000 for building repairs and maintenance and $10,000 in administration fees.

The capital projects budget for 2008-09 is $133,174 and the Tingley Library budget is $15,457, with the largest expenses being utilities and insurance at $3,500 each.

CRA expenses are projected at $566,100, with $550,000 to be directed to payments on the loan to restore the Bridge Street Pier.

On the revenue side, the general fund projection is for $1,131,300 and includes some franchise fees, service taxes, licenses, fees, interest income and fines.

Streets and roads’ revenues are projected at $124,500, with money coming from gas taxes and state revenue sharing.

The CRA revenue is projected at $455,000, the sanitation revenue at $438,720 and the library revenue at $14,000 - mostly from an interest-earning certificate of deposit.

The budget projects $1,278,766 in revenue from ad valorem taxes. This is the revenue generated by the property tax. The maximum rate, as set by the commission, is 2.1539 mills.

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 final hearing on the spending plan, but elected officials cannot raise the rate.

For a house valued at $525,000 in Bradenton Beach, minus $25,000 homestead, the property tax bill from the city for the next year would be $1,076.95.

A final budget hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at city hall.


Proposed Bradenton Beach 2008-09 fiscal year budget

Revenue/carryover by budget category:

  • General fund: $1,131,300 million in 2008-09 ($2.5 million in 2007-08).
  • Revenue sharing motor fuel: $0 ($11,000).
  • Gas tax: $124,500 ($122,500).
  • CRA shared revenue/Interest income: $455,000 ($610,000).
  • Sanitation: $438,720 ($439,558).
  • Library: $14,000 ($33,000).
  • Ad valorem taxes: $1,278,776
  • Reserve/CIP transfers: $140,000.

Total revenue budget: $3,578,296 ($3,720,658).

  • Expenditures by budget category:
  • Administration: $380,655.92 ($374,720 in 2007-08).
  • Project/Program: $110,598 ($121,202).
  • Commission: $195,569 ($232,804).
  • Police: $875,387 ($877,260).
  • Emergency Operations: $23,935 ($28,850).
  • Planning: $424,474 ($405,295.65).
  • Pier: $49,337.51 ($59,500).
  • Streets and Roads: $187,107 ($189,950).
  • Stormwater: $159,629 ($150,500).
  • Facilities management: $125,769 ($148,800).
  • Community Redevelopment Agency: $566,100 ($566,750).
  • Capital Improvements Projects: $133,174 ($108,489).
  • Sanitation: $321,490 ($400,896.80).
  • Library: $15,457 ($21,730).
  • Total expenditure budget: $3,567,182.43 ($3,686,748.99).

Millage rate

  • The proposed property tax for Bradenton Beach is 2.1539 mills per $1,000, compared to last year’s 2.2579.