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St. Pete Beach proposes millage increase
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ST. PETE BEACH – Interim City Manager and Finance Director Elaine Edmunds has presented a proposed $15.651 million budget for fiscal 2015, which is 5.8 percent above the current budget.

The budget is based on a 5.74 percent increase in estimated property tax values and a slight increase in the millage rate from 2.8569 to 3.00, which is projected to generate $6.317 million, a 10.9 percent increase over the current budget.

Interestingly, the proposed millage rate would produce slightly more ad valorem revenue than in fiscal 2013 when the millage rate was 3.2819 and property values were lower.

Some of the general fund highlights include:

• A $4,000 increase in the city commission travel and training budget, from $6,000 to $10,000

• A $30,000 contingency fund for the City Commission to cover unexpected special projects

• Implementation of a $5,000 employee tuition reimbursement program

• $50,000 for a new phone system and $20,000 for a new video equipment

• $20,000 for a financial planner to help out in structuring loans and bonds for capital projects

• A 2.54 percent increase in law enforcement expense ($55,237) and a 7.7 percent increase in law enforcement retirement contributions

• No increase in fire personnel

• An additional $35,000 for street paving.

Overall, the general fund is projected to have a reserve of $3.695 million at the end of fiscal 2015 after a $500,000 loan to the stormwater fund. The balance would be 28 percent of the personnel and operating expense projected for fiscal 2015.

There are no rate increases planned for the city’s wastewater fund but a number of projects are planned. They include:

• Renovation of Pump Station 3 ($912,000)

• Televising all lines and establishing a master plan ($725,000)

• Replacement of a force main ($575,000)

• Replacement of four crossover pipes under Gulf Boulevard ($70,000)

• $1.038 million transfer to the capital improvement fund for the Pass-A-Grille Way project.

There are also no rate increases planned for the reclaimed water and stormwater funds.

The following capital improvement projects are planned and budgeted:

• General street rehabilitation, $600,000

• Seawall repairs, $100,000.

• Pass-A-Grille Way reconstruction, $6.324 million

• FDOT landscaping, $60,000

• Bayway landscaping, $243,000

• Blind Pass Road improvements, $1.395 million

• Egan Park upgrades, $770,000

• McKenney Park playground resurfacing, $50,000

• Community Center dock, $312,375

• Police department renovation to city hall, $3 million

• Library expansion, $230,000.

The City Commission is scheduled to adopt the tentative millage rate July 22. First public hearing on the budget is Sept. 10 and the final public hearing on Sept. 24.
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