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Council approves 2014 tentative budget

By Staff | Sep 9, 2013

The Sanibel City Council approved the 2014 Tentative Budget on Sept. 7.

Although changes could be made to the tentative budget before the final hearing on Sept. 17, the current package totals $45.6 million and a rolled-back millage rate of 2.0861. The rolled-back rate generates the same amount of revenue as the current millage rate, after adjusting for new construction, according to a city council memo.

“We took an aggressive stance on the roll-back rate,” said Mayor Kevin Ruane at Saturday’s meeting. “We are the only municipality that went to the roll back rate in a draft. We are living in our means. We aren’t to the final adoption, but we came out of the gate aggressively.”

The bulk of council’s discussion over the weekend centered on a lump sum payment to the police pension plan and sewer system rates.

“The council has been vigilant in trying to pay down debt the best we can,” said Ruane.

Council members approved a lump sum payment of approximately $1.3 million made to the police pension program to reduce future payments.

“Over time that will reduce the subsequent year’s payments to the fund,” said City Manager Judie Zimomra.

Zimomra said the police pension plan has the highest interest rate of any of the city’s debts. The lump sum payment was made by transferring $1,161,330 from the General Fund and 111,905 from Beach Parking, one of the city’s fee-based Enterprise Funds.

The city was able to use funds from Beach Parking because when police officers patrol the shores they are compensated from that fund.

Council also decided to increase sewer rates by 1.5 percent. Legislation established a 3 percent increase each year for the sewer, but council approved a smaller increase to avoid overwhelming customers. Ninety-seven percent of Sanibel Island residents are connected to the sewer system.

For more information on the tentative budget or the next hearing, visit mysanibel.com.