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$43 million budget introduced; operating costs cut $1.5 million

By Staff | Jul 29, 2009

Last week, City Manager Judie Zimomra introduced a draft year budget for 2010 totaling $43,173,956, and the City Council approved a preliminary millage rate of 2.28, as local leaders began to short through Sanibel’s budget process before it goes before the public in September.

According to Zimomra, the proposed budget was drafted based upon several assumptions. They include the city staff continuing to reconfigure their operations to work within reduced resources, adhering to a strict fiscal discipline and that there has been no indication for economic recovery or turnaround.

“Our long term viability and property values are tied to our core quality of life services,” the 35-page report stated. “In recognition of current economic conditions, the FY 2010 draft budget has been prepared anticipating decreasing revenues.”

The proposed FY 2010 budget includes a nearly $1.5 million – or four percent – reduction in operating expenses, from the current $33,935,639 to an introduced figure totaling $32,561,713.

City staff salaries will remain nearly identical for the second consecutive year while the number of full time employees have been reduced from 141 to 126.

In addition, city staff has renegotiated 28 existing contracts for services to lower rates.

Other highlights of the draft budget include:

Property taxes reduced 2.5 percent

Total debt reduced by approximately $6.2 million

$1.6 million to be invested in capital improvements

An additional $50,000 to be allocated to the city’s sewer fund reserve for disasters

Recreation Center classes expanded from 18 to 44

“The FY10 draft budget is greater than the FY09 adopted budget due to greater projected beginning fund balances in FY10 ($16,544,494) than in FY09 ($13,163,614),” Zimomra’s memorandum to the City Council stated.

The draft budget is funded by a millage rate of 2.2808, which is .0599 mills – or 2.5 percent – less than the current rolled-back rate. The rolled-back rate is the rate that will result in the same amount of tax being collected as in the prior year, adjusted for new construction projects.

The City Council approved the proposed draft budget unanimously, 4-0, with Councilman Jim Jennings absent. The first budget public hearing will be held on Saturday, Sept. 5 at MacKenzie Hall, 800 Dunlop Road. Discussion and adoption of both the tentative FY 2010 budget and millage rate will begin at 9 a.m.

The second and final public hearing on the budget will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 5:01 p.m.

To view the city’s FY 2010 draft budget in its entirety, visit www.mysanibel.com.