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Council adopts $44 million budget for FY2010-11

By Staff | Sep 22, 2010

Making only one minor change, the City Council adopted a budget of $44,059,108 for Fiscal Year 2010-11 on Tuesday afternoon, settling on a millage rate of  2.1561 — equal to last year’s approved rate — after briefly considering making further reductions.

During the hour-long session, attended by nine citizens, councilors approved pushing back $104,000 from the previously approved 2010-11 appropriations for police capital projects to the following year’s budget.

Vice Mayor Mick Denham, who suggested the adjustment during the Sept. 11 meeting, explained that the change wasn’t an indication that he was "second guessing" the city staff.

"It’s the principle of how we were spending our capital budget," he said.

Of the total funds approved in the 2010-11 budget, funds are allocated into 11 different areas of Sanibel’s government. They include:

• General Government – 13 percent

• Operating Reserves – 19.4 percent

• Capital Projects – 8.7 percent

• Public Safety – 13.5 percent

• Transportation – 9.6 percent

• Culture/Recreation – 8.8 percent

• Physical Environment – 2.1 percent

• Economic Environment – 0.8 percent

• Long-Term Debt Redemption – 2.3 percent

• Human Services – Less than 0.1 percent

• Estimated Ending Fund Balance – 21.6 percent

Peter Pappas, who was absent during the first budget hearing, questioned whether the millage rate approved on Sept. 11 could be lowered prior to the council adopting the 2010-11 budget. He added that he would rely on Mayor Kevin Ruane’s opinion and expertise on the matter.

"My concern is that if we reduce the millage rate, how far do we lower it and what will it do to our reserves, which are more critical now than ever," said Ruane. "We looked at the budget and I’m comfortable where we are."

Pappas said that he was satisfied with Ruane’s rationale just before the council unanimously approved the budget package.

During the meeting, the council also discussed the $15,000 gift from an island resident for the installation of web-streaming.

Back in August, resident Calvin Linnemann offered $15,000 to the city for the purpose of adding streaming video of council meetings — and possibly other local government gatherings held at MacKenzie Hall — on the city’s website.

During a brief debate on the issue, the council appeared split over whether it should accept the gift, as Ruane speculated the amount of staff hours it would take to begin and operate the technology. He was also concerned that the acceptance of the grant would commit the city to extending the service beyond the first year.

Councilman Jim Jennings stated that the gift would probably be enough to cover city expenses for up to two years of the web-streaming service. However, when the public was asked to speak on the matter, nobody in the audience offered any comment.

"If there are only a few people that are interested in something, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do this," said Jennings, who lauded the state-of-the-art service with "jump-to" agenda technology. "This is probably going to help people understand what’s going on up here."

Without a motion to accept the gift, the council decided to pass on accepting Linnemann’s gift. However, Jennings did not rule out returning discussions on the subject at a future meeting.

"Every other municipality does this," he added. "It’s the 21st century."