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Debt continues to decline on Sanibel

By Staff | Aug 3, 2011

A detailed Debt Pay Down Analysis was presented to the City Council, revealing six consecutive years of Sanibel reducing the city’s total debt from both the Operating Budget and Sewer System Enterprise Fund.

On Tuesday, after Finance Director Sylvia Edwards and Fiscal Analyst Frances Slane were bestowed the 2010 and 2011 Distinguished Budget Award from the Finance Governmental Officers Association (GFOA) for the 16th consecutive year, a brief presentation of the city’s debts and paydown history was offered by Edwards and City Manager Judie Zimomra.

The PowerPoint program showed that during the past six years, the city has reduced Governmental Outstanding Debt (at Sept. 30) from $17.8 million in 2006 to $10.6 million in 2011. Over the same time period, Sewer System Outstanding Debt dropped from $51.2 million in 2006 to $34.1 million in 2011.

According to Edwards, the only two debts remaining for General Government Operating Budget are the land acquisition for Pond Apple Park ($3,070,000) and the Sanibel Recreation Center ($7,525,000). The total debt for the Sewer System Enterprise Fund is $34,167,352, bring the city’s total debt expenses to $44,762,352.

On July 19, a draft budget totaling $46,766,179 was introduced. Councilors approved the proposed millage rate of 2.1561 for Fiscal Year 2012, identical to the current rate but .0032 percent less than the roll-back rate of 2.1630.

Under the proposed millage rate, with property values on Sanibel declining .0992 percent in the last year, to $4,206,941,772 – representing a less than one percent drop – residents will pay $258.51 in FY2012.

The council will conduct the first budget public hearing on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 9 a.m., during which they will discuss and adopt the tentative millage rate and FY2012 budget. The final budget hearing will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 5:01 p.m.

In other business, councilors unanimously approved amending Sanibel’s Land Development Code related to the Bailey’s Shopping Center Planned Unit Development (PUD), lowering the required number of onsite parking spaces and establishing a new setback standard for bonus outdoor seating for the restauarant at the northwest corner of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road (George & Wendy’s Corner Grill).

Roy Gibson of the city’s Planning Department read the ordinance being considered by the council. Under the terms agreed to by the Planning Commission, the required number of parking spaces at the shopping center was reduced from 321 to 281. A development permit would be needed to add or eliminate parking on either the east or west parcel.

Also, bonus outdoor seating at the restaurant will require a minimum setback of 75 feet and 66 feet from the centerline of Periwinkle Way and Tarpon Bay Road rights-of-way, respectively.