REDINGTON BEACH – Commissioners got a peek into the future June 7 as they took a first look at possible and expected increases for the upcoming 2018 town budget.
Presenting fellow commissioners with preliminary figures for the 2018 fiscal year during a workshop, Finance Commissioner Tom Dorgan said new valuations from Property Appraiser Mike Twitty indicated a 7.11 percent increase in Redington Beach property values, which would jump tax revenue to $779,000 from the current $717,000.
Dorgan said the rollback rate wouldn’t be known until July.
He added that while flood insurance for Town Hall would remain at $5,200 a year, he expected insurance increases on the neighboring Public Works building to be “considerable.”
Earlier in the workshop, Mayor Nick Simons reviewed proposals from contractors, most of which included rate increases that would affect budget considerations.
The contract with Waste Connections for garbage collection expires at the end of September, he said, but contains a provision for the contract to be extended for another three-year period.
Company spokesman Ian Boyle told commissioners he hoped the contract would be extended. He said the rate would remain at current levels for the first year and be subject to hikes in the last two years of the contract.
A representative from another company, Waste Pro, also made a brief presentation, but offered no specific rates.
The law firm of Trask Daigneault Attorneys LLP, which has provided legal services for the town since 2011, proposed raising the hourly rate to $165 from the current $145, a rate that has been in effect for six years.
Simons noted the firm’s contract had expired, but that Jay Daigneault had continued as town attorney.
Vice Mayor Fred Steiermann said legal services constituted a “huge” part of the town’s budget, and wondered if the firm would be open to negotiations on the rate.
Daigneault he was “always open” to negotiation, adding, “I look at the dollars, Fred, I do, but I’m more concerned about what kind of success we’re having.”
Simons noted that much of the town’s litigation cost in the last several years had been related to short term rentals, a running issue of contention for the town.
The current legal services budget is $77,500, with litigation expenses comprising $35,000.
Other increases affecting the budget will come from law enforcement and fire and emergency services, said Town Clerk Missy Clarke.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office wants to raise the cost of its services by 2.27 percent, she said, which would add $5,495 to the budget. The cost of code enforcement would remain at $43.82 an hour.
The Seminole Fire Department, which provides emergency services to Redington Beach, is asking for a 1.8 percent hike, Clarke said. Such an increase would push those expenditures to $112,136, from the current $110,154.
In other action:
• Clarke was authorized during the workshop to develop a written policy for groups to reserve use of town parks. She told commissioners the policy should include requirements for plans for setup and cleanup, parking, the need for liability insurance and hiring of a deputy if alcohol was to be served, and contact information for persons in charge of the event.
• Commissioners agreed to consider changing their meeting time to earlier in the evening. The commission currently meets at 7 p.m. and Dorgan said a 6 p.m. meeting time would be “a little difficult” for him. Simons agreed, saying such an hour could result in him missing an occasional meeting.
A formal vote on the change will be taken at a future meeting.
• Commissioner Dave Will asked during the regular meeting for deputies to enforce the “no parking” regulations on the 161st Avenue causeway. Houses on both ends of the causeway were “having situations” with illegally parked cars, he said, while some vehicles were also being parked on sidewalks.
Commissioners agreed with his suggestion to relocate “No Parking” signs currently located in the middle of the causeway.
• Simons also noted the passing of Sprague Owings, an employee of Florida Municipal Services that provides code enforcement services for both Redington Beach and North Redington Beach.
Owings, 63, was found dead in his home the morning of June 4, according to Tracy Campbell, a permit technician at FMS. She said he was last spoken to on June 2. He joined in FMS in January 2016.
“He took to the job,” Simons said. “He liked Redington Beach, he liked North Redington beach, he liked working for the company he was working for. It’s unfortunate that he passed.”