Few changes in Crescent City’s proposed budget

City’s millage rate will drop slightly despite 10 percent increase in health insurance costs

CRESCENT CITY — Crescent City commissioners on Thursday heard and approved first of the 2016-17 fiscal year budget.

Kennedy said the proposed budget is $1,509,576, with the only significant increase seen on the expense side with a 10 percent increase in health insurance costs.

Kennedy said despite a few changes to the budget since the August commission meeting and budget workshops, the general fund is mainly unchanged.

“Bottom line dollars, you can see, in the budget summary have not change,” Kennedy said. “But I did want to point out some changes in the budget details.”

In the water fund, Kennedy said the city made the last loan payment on a water meter replacement project from 2006. Kennedy said the water meters are now 10 years old, and they will need to rotate some out of service to rebuild.

“We were paying $31,000 a year in loan payments and finished paying in July of this year,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the budget reflected continuation of the $31,000 payment and $28,000 would move toward equipment and maintenance to repair and replace the water meters. The remainder of the money went to salary and wages for personnel for the utility department.

The only other change to the budget, Kennedy said, was an overstatement of revenue for the Community Redevelopment Agency’s budget by $1,199.

Kennedy said the CRA approved the budget change in August.

Mayor Joe Santa told residents attending the meeting that now was the time for questions.

Michael Frank, part-time code enforcement officer for the city and a resident, questioned fiscal responsibility and why commissioners didn’t roll back the millage to 2013 rates when there is close to $900,000 in surplus funds.

“Most folks out there need a break, and if you roll back the millage rates … that is something you should very much consider, or had you considered that?” Frank asked.

Kennedy said as city manager he always looks for ways to cut the millage rate, but the $900,000 was basically found money.

“We have salary lapses and shortages, when people leave positions and a hire is not made yet,” Kennedy said. 

Other examples of found money is when gas prices drop and the city isn’t paying as much to fuel vehicles.

Commissioner Judy West said even though $900,000 seems like a lot of money for a homeowner, for Crescent City, the money could quickly disappear if a disaster struck.

“If you have an emergency and we don’t have some funds, we are up the creek,” West said. “In 2004, when the hurricanes came through, we didn’t have this and we were scrambling. So we set up a fund, for when things like this come up, we put the money aside.”

Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to set the millage rate for the 2016 tax year at 8.5914 mils per $1,000 of taxable value.

“Technically, it results in a minor decrease of overall taxes collected,” Kennedy said. “No increase, no real decrease in our tax revenue as a result.”

The millage rate represents a 0.44 percent decrease from the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which was set at 8.6294 mils.

Palatka Daily News

1825 St. Johns Ave.
Palatka, FL 32177
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