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Beach Beacon
Redington Beach gets high marks on audit
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REDINGTON BEACH – There are no financial woes looming on the horizon for this little town.

High marks, in fact, were given for the outcome of the 2012 fiscal year in an annual independent audit review of a first draft presentation at the Feb. 19 Redington Beach Town Commission meeting.

Mike Carter from the accounting firm of Clifton Larson Allen told the board the town is in a “very strong financial condition. I know the city runs a pretty tight ship here,” Carter said.

The city is debt-free and had about $2.3 million in cash at the end of fiscal year 2012 and $2.4 million in assets with almost no liabilities.

Assets in the general fund total approximately $900,000, the largest portion is the $420,000 earmarked for capital projects, i.e., land, infrastructure, buildings, improvements and vehicles and used to provide services to the town’s residents.

It is anticipated that about half of the money in the capital fund assets will eventually be put toward repairs to the seawall on 161st Avenue.

The capital projects fund did not spend as much as expected over the past year and ended up having an increase of $184,000.

“Both your general fund and capital projects fund are in very good shape,” Carter said.

Monies within the capital project fund are considered restricted assets, not typically available for future spending.

However, Carter pointed out that the town’s unrestricted net assets decreased by $78,000 during 2012 to $1.49 million by the end of fiscal year and may be available for appropriation.

In terms of revenue, Carter pointed out the general fund took in a bit under a million dollars in revenue and had $868,000 in expenditures.

The town’s storm water utility fund with assets totaling $4.2 million out of which about $3.8 million are capital assets also had very little in the way of liabilities. That fund’s operating revenues totaled $93,500. However, the expenses amounted to $147,000 resulting in a loss of $53,600 due to the recession.

Revenue from property taxes, not surprisingly, dropped by $41,800 due mostly to a decrease in real estate values.

The commission will approve the final draft of the audit review at the next commission meeting scheduled for March 5.

Love the library

Despite the immediate accessibility of books, music, news and entertainment with a few well-placed clicks of the mouse, people still flock to their public libraries.

Approximately 83,000 people visited the Gulf Beaches Public Library over the last year, checking out almost 144,000 items in the form of books, DVDs audio books and E-books, according to Library Director, Maggie Cinnella, who came before the commission to present the 2011-12 biannual report.

In terms of holdings, the library has more than 77,000 items. Aside from checking out books, 42,000 visitors have used the library to connect to email, engage with Facebook, apply for jobs and file for unemployment benefits as well as to research government resources most of which are now available only electronically.

Cinnella told the commission that the library remains in sound financial shape and came in under budget for the fiscal year despite having the lowest budget for a Pinellas County library.

A slight increase in the budget was due to higher insurance costs.

Reserve money, however, had to be used due to a decrease in county funding. Each of the municipalities served by the GBPL had agreed to increase their contribution.

Despite being on a tight financial budget, Cinnella pointed out that service to the community is the top priority with sponsorship of over 400 programs and groups aimed at adults, teens and children and included book and film groups, story time readings and summer programs. These events drew over 5,000 people.

Significant events over the past year have included adoption of an interlocal agreement between the five funding communities; parking lot improvements; weeding out worn and battered books from the collection, and the success of the Food for Thought fundraiser which brought in $11,650 for the library.

“We were very pleased with all the people who came out and supported us at that event,” Cinnella said.

For movie buffs, the library now has a Wednesday afternoon film series.

Cinnella said in March, in honor of Florida’s 500-year anniversary the GBPL plans to feature an exhibit of original photographic history of Pinellas County from the library’s archives.

The library’s income last year totaled $414,000 the bulk of which came from both local and municipal funding. Donations amounted to about $6,500. Expenditures, mainly in the form of salaries, wages for library employees, maintaining the collection and other miscellaneous costs, totaled $438,000.

Cinnella informed the commission that 69 percent of the town’s 1,400 residents have active library cards and over the last year, its residents checked out over 12,000 items.

Mayor Nick Simons praised the GBPL which he said “provides more for less. So that’s a testament to its operation.”

The GBPL serves residents living in Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores and Treasure Island as well as unincorporated areas and participating municipalities of the Pinellas Library Cooperative.
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