Holmes Beach budget talks begin

Holmes Beach budget talks begin
Commissioner Jim Kihm asks a few questions about the city’s potential rollover amount at the end of the fiscal year during a 2019-20 budget presentation.

HOLMES BEACH – The city’s initial budget workshops are completed and city leaders have a budget that they’re prepared to present to residents in September at two budget hearings.

Holmes Beach Treasurer Lori Hill presented the budget to commissioners over a series of daytime work sessions. Hill, who spent months drafting the budget, proposed that commissioners use the rollback rate for property taxes this year.

Due to an increase in the overall value of property in the city as determined by the Manatee County Property Appraiser’s Office, Hill said using the customary 2.25 millage rate would cause an increase in taxes for property owners. She suggested and drafted the budget using the 2.1226 mills rollback rate to keep ad valorem taxes and the city’s revenue from the tax on par with the current year’s budget. The total amount of revenue to the city through ad valorem taxes is expected to be $4,234,993, a slight decrease from last year’s $4,255,643.

The millage rate is the amount assessed on a property per 1,000 square feet of the building or home. For a home with 2,000 square feet, the ad valorem tax to the city would be $4,245.20 not taking into account any potential discounts for early payment.

Hill said that she was able to use the rollback rate due to the receipt of unanticipated grant funds. She also projects increases in revenue for the building department, code enforcement due to proposed changes in the city’s vacation rental certificate program and a $115,000 projected interest revenue increase.

She projects that the rollover to the 2019-20 fiscal year when the current year ends Sept. 30 could be as high as $1.2 million due to the unanticipated grant funds and project rollovers. Her budget proposes adding around $500,000 to the city’s reserves and another $250,000 to the reserve funds set aside for the Bert Harris claims and cases facing the city.

The total proposed budget for the year is $15,863,864, including $7,478,249 in carryover and reserves.

The Sun will be diving further into the Holmes Beach budget leading up to the two September public hearings. If you have questions about the budget, submit them to [email protected]

Mayor/Commission

The budget proposes a total of $178,953 for the mayor and commission budget, including commissioner stipends of $500 per month and the mayor’s stipend of $2,000 per month. It also includes $8,475 for computer/IT services to set up and maintain commissioner and board member email addresses, $7,000 for mayor and commission travel and $2,500 for binders, toner, nameplates, business cards and other miscellaneous expenses.

General Government

The general government budget proposes an increase from $602,951 to $828,112 in personnel services to include eight full-time employees, $23,400 for temporary scanning services and a $16,000 compensation study, $180,000 for the land development code and comprehensive plan review, a $100,000 legal contingency, $50,000 for a lobbyist and $25,000 to be used at the commission’s discretion to fund The Center of Anna Maria Island, Keep Manatee Beautiful or another nonprofit or cultural organization.

Total operating expenses are expected to come in at $951,875. Adding capital outlay funds of $16,500, the total general government budget is $1,796,487.

Police

The proposed Holmes Beach Police Department budget shows a $10,000 decrease over the previous year bringing the total to $3,385,663. The budget includes a $20,000 increase in personnel services due to increases in required overtime for holiday weekends, marine patrols and other issues requiring more officers, such as special events. It also includes $72,630 for computer/IT services which Chief Bill Tokajer said will keep the department up to current Florida Department of Law Enforcement standards and $87,965 to purchase needed equipment including four bulletproof vests, bulletproof helmets breaching tool kits and FDLE compliant computers.

Public Works

The budget for public works proposes $722,602 in total personnel services for 10 full-time employees, $75,000 for emergency management training, $641,104 in total operating expenses and an increase of $152,000 in capital outlay projects bringing that total to $305,000. The increase in capital outlay expenses covers improvements to the police kitchen, improvements at the public works barn building, park enhancements and the purchase of a new tractor and excavator that the department has been saving for over the past three fiscal years. The total budget is proposed at $1,668,706.

Building Department

The proposed building department budget shows a marked decrease in the total budget amount from $957,453 in the current fiscal year to $882,061 proposed for the coming fiscal year. The budget includes $76,150 in professional engineering services, the purchase of two Ford Escape vehicles and the purchase of office equipment for a plans examiner. Total personnel services for the department are budgeted at $586,761 with $239,800 in operating expenses and $55,500 in capital outlay costs, including the two new vehicles.

Code Enforcement

The total proposed code enforcement budget indicates a $191,248 increase over the current year to $481,644. The funds include $309,818 in personnel services for four full-time employees, $10,000 for special magistrate hearings, $6,000 for the printing of supplies including flyers and window clings, $40,000 for a new truck and four-seater golf cart, and $10,800 for computer replacements.