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Date of Issue: September 28, 2006

Anna Maria budget adopted - finally

Maybe it was because Anna Maria city commissioners and residents had already been through five worksessions and one public hearing on the 2006-07 budget.

Then again, maybe commissioners and residents just believed the $3.37 million budget was one everyone could accept.

Whatever the case, commissioners spent only 45 minutes at their Sept. 20 public hearing to officially approve the 2006-07 budget and its accompanying 2.0 millage rate.

While the $3.37 million budget is a record, it includes $1 million as a line of credit for capital improvements.

The reserve fund will start the fiscal year at 33.49 percent of the operating budget, but, if all revenues and expenditures are met, will close out the year on Sept. 30, 2007, at 38.1 percent.

The city will receive an increase of $210,000 in ad valorem tax revenues for the coming fiscal year, up 16 percent from last year. The 2.0 millage rate remains unchanged.

A last-minute effort by Commissioner Linda Cramer to add $3,500 as a line item for a consultant's advice and report on making the city a "walkable" community failed to gain majority approval. While Commissioner Christine Tollette favored the measure, Commissioners John Quam and Dale Woodland preferred to obtain public input on the issue, including an opinion from the environmental education and enhancement committee, before committing any funds. Commissioner Duke Miller was absent from the meeting.

Quam and Woodland did leave the door open to discuss the issue at a future commission work session and, if the commission agreed, the money would come from the contingency fund.

"Just because it's not in the budget doesn't mean we are going to wait another year" before discussing the issue, said Woodland.

Mayor SueLynn had also favored the proposal as it ties in with the city's planning for a $300,000 transportation enhancement grant it expects to receive from the Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

"We should get an early start on planning for that grant," the mayor said.