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Tentative budget approved at $47.8 million

By Staff | Sep 14, 2011

As anticipated, council members unanimously approved a budget package totaling $47,784,320 for Fiscal Year 2011-12, established a millage rate of 2.1561 and introduced a set of goals for the next 12 months.

During the presentation conducted by Finance Director Sylvia Edwards and City Manager Judie Zimomra, the City of Sanibel’s budgeted operating ad valorem revenue dropped slightly over the past year, from $9,074,577 in FY2010-11 to $9,070,587 in FY2011-12, due to a .0992 percent decline in taxable property values.

“Since submitting the draft budget to City Council, additional factors have occurred,” Edwards said. “These changes are reflected in today’s tentative budget and decrease the draft budget’s surplus from $622,898 to the tentative budget’s surplus of $220,569.”

Highlights of the FY2011-12 budget changes include:

Increase pension liability paydown by $447,984 (from $2,552,016 to $3,000,000).

Budget $600,000 transfer to debt service; establish sinking fund account for early retirement of bonds used to construct the Sanibel Recreation Center.

Add Dinkins Bayou dredging project ($200,000) and Clam Bayou box culvert repair ($30,000).

* Roll forward $100,000 for Sanibel Lighthouse rehabilitation in beach parking.

Received WCIND grant award ($48,822) and Edward Byrne grant award ($2,266).

One administrative clerk position changed from full-time to part-time ($26,871); one sewer position changed from part-time to full-time ($20,234).

Roll forward purchase of crime scene vehicle ($50,000) and Lindgren box culvert project ($165,000).

Reduce sewer debt budget by $475,292.

Sanibel’s tentative budget package is approximately $3.7 million more than last year’s adopted budget of $44,059,108. However, it is approximately $8.6 million less than the FY2010-11 amended budget.

“Speaking for my fellow council, I’m very proud of what we’ve done to reduce our debt,” said Vice Mayor Mick Denham.

According to Edwards, the average island taxpayer paid $1,402.40 to the city last year. In the coming year, the estimate is $1,395.63.

Doug Congress, participating in his first budget hearing as a member of council, was pleased with the tentative budget plan presented.

“Sanibel taxpayers are gonna be paying a little bit less, and we’re reducing our debt,” he said.

Councilors also looked at establishing goals for the future, including improving both local and regional water quality, developing a long-term Debt Early Retirement Plan and developing a Facility Component Replacement Plan. Denham suggested refining regional water goals and adding completion of redevelopment activity.

“Let’s try this year to have some very reasonable goals,” he added.

Final approval of the budget, millage rate and council goals will take place during the second public hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at MacKenzie Hall. The meeting will begin at 5:01 p.m.