INDIAN SHORES – Town councilors adopted the proposed budget and millage rate for fiscal 2014 on first reading at the Sept. 4 Indian Shores Council meeting.
The proposed millage rate of 1.8700 is the same as the current budget year and is 3.64 percent more than the rolled-back rate of 1.8043. The taxable value of property in Indian Shores increased by 3.86 percent, resulting in an assessed value of $644.96 million for the town, which is $2.39 million than a year ago.
Last year’s tax levy was $1.161 million and the town’s budget was $1.122 million. The fiscal 2014 tax levy will be $1.206 million and the town’s proposed budget is $1.169 million.
The budgeted property tax revenue in the general fund is $47,781 more than last year totaling $1.169 million budgeted at a 97 percent collection rate.
In other action, councilors:
• A resolution opposing and urging amendment to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 passed unanimously by the Town Council.
The legislation was passed by Congress in July 2012 and alters the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for fiscal responsibility. These changes will continue to raise flood insurance premiums until the FEMA-run program is more financially sound.
“FEMA is way underfunded,” said Councilor Bill Smith. “Flood insurance premiums will go up 25 percent per year until they are up to speed.”
Premiums will go up based on changes to the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) so rate increases will affect some but not all coastal residents. Those who are affected may face astronomical rate increases. FEMA’s website encourages residents and business owners to talk with their insurance agents to find out if they will be affected by the changes.
“(Residents) could end up with a valueless house because no one would want to buy it,” said Mayor Jim Lawrence.
• Two employment agreements between the Town of Indian Shores and Earl D. Williams were approved, renewing Williams’ dual positions as chief of police and town administrator for another year.
With virtually no changes in the agreements from the previous year, the new contracts begin Oct. 1, 2013.
• An ordinance amending the Town of Indian Shores Police Officers’ Pension Trust Fund was passed on its first reading. Chief E.D. Williams explained that the ordinance had no substantive changes and is, “housekeeping prepared by the pension fund attorney, Lee Dehner.”
• A resolution passed authorizing credit cards to be issued to elected officials and department heads of the town.
The credit cards are to cover expenditures relating to attending conferences and other related official town business. Cards are issued to the town’s elected officials, including the mayor, vice-mayor, and three council members.
Cards are also issued to the town’s department heads, including the chief of police, town clerk, and director of finance.