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Treasure Island eyes tax increase
0.1 mill would provide additional funding for bridge maintenance
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TREASURE ISLAND – City Manager Reid Silverboard has proposed a $21.22 million budget for fiscal 2015 that includes a small millage increase to provide additional funding for maintenance of the causeway bridges.

If approved, the proposed .1 mill increase would provide an additional $134,805 that would be set aside for bridge maintenance. It would increase the total for bridge maintenance to .2 mill, producing an estimated total of $259,605 annually.

“These bridges require yearly maintenance and periodically major maintenance in order to protect the investment and ensure proper operation,” said Silverboard in a written report on the proposed budget. “The set-aside money is not proposed to be used for everyday operation and maintenance but rather as a supplemental funding for larger projects, such as replacement of the bridge lighting system, refurbishment of the electronics, hydraulic, mechanical components of the bascule bridge, painting and repairs to the bridge structure and, of course, the eventual replacement of the bridge.”

Silverboard said if tolls are brought back on the bridge, Treasure Island staff would recommend that the millage set aside be ended and that the operation, maintenance and replacement of the bridges be funded exclusively from the toll revenue. The city expects to have a legal analysis about returning to tolls by Aug. 1.

The proposed budget is 7.2 percent, or $1.65 million, less in net appropriations after deducting end-of-the-year transfers from the current year’s budget.

The general fund budget is based on approval of 3.4368 millage rate, which is .1 mills higher than the current millage rate of 3.3368 and 9.8 percent above the rolled back rate of 3.1300 mills. The rolled back rate is the rate necessary to produce the same revenue as the previous year.

The proposed millage rate of 3.4368 will produce an estimated $4.633 million in ad valorem revenue, or $419,000 more than the current budget.

After other pledged revenue, the city’s proposed $10.26 million general fund will receive $3.621 million in ad valorem tax revenue.

Staff is also proposing increases to the beach parking fee, from $40 to $45; parking meter rates, up 25-cents per hour; and summer camps, up $25.

No fee increases are planned for solid waste collection or recycling. However, city staff is proposing an increase in the stormwater utility fee of 25 percent, which would produce an additional $162,357 toward capital improvements. Additionally, staff proposes a wastewater collection rate increase of 3 percent and a volume rate increase of another 3 percent, which is expected to add an additional $117,198 to support the city’s wastewater collection system.

Employee wages, meantime, are proposed to increase 2 percent with up to an additional 2 percent in merit increases.

The city anticipates $681,200 in Pinellas For Pinellas revenue, which will help to fund bridge hydraulic repairs, street resurfacing, fire station upgrades and repairs to buildings at Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis.

The city will pay $117,880 to fund the Gulf Beaches Public Library and $233,215 to fund the Beach Trolley and Demand Response Service from Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. Should Greenlight Pinellas pass in November, Silverboard said, the city would no longer need to contract for PSTA services.
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