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IRB budget includes millage rate reduction
Property assessment increases 16 percent over FY2004.
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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – City Manager John Coffey released the proposed FY2005 city budget June 30 and city budget director Mary Karayianes presented it to the Finance and Budget Review Committee that evening.

The key feature of the new budget is a 7.5 percent cut in the property tax millage rate from the current 2.33926 to 2.2132 mills. The proposed decrease removes $124,843 annually from the tax rolls. However, the total property tax revenue collected by the city would still rise 5.9 percent due to an increase in total property assessment of 16.6 percent over FY2004. The proposed millage rate is a 6.82 percent increase from the rollback rate.

The millage rate cut would save $54.73 annually for the owner of a house valued at $330,000 with homestead exemption, according to city budget documents. This is the fourth straight year with double digit increases in property valuation.

The city is tentatively forecasting total 2005 revenue as follows:

User fees – 34 percent
Property taxes – 29 percent
Intergovernmental – 19 percent
Franchise fees – 9 percent
Licenses and Permits – 4 percent
Miscellaneous – 4 percent

The user fees primarily feed the sewer and solid waste funds. Property taxes are the largest general fund revenue source.

The proposed budget includes money for an architectural and engineering design for a new library. The $75,000 budgeted for the study is tentatively based on constructing a minimum 6,000 square foot building (or expansion of the current 3,000 square foot facility) during 2006-2007. The budget document includes an estimated minimum cost of $600,000 for the new library building. This figure will probably be refined based on the architectural and engineering design study, said Karayianes. About one-half of the library expense is expected to come from state grants.

The budget also includes $79,500 for the replacement of an inadequate playground module at Brown Park with two modules for children up to12 years old.

Storm water improvements for 23rd to 25th avenues are budgeted at $275,000. This is the last major drainage project needed to complete the Master Drainage Plan adopted 13 years ago. With the completion of the plan, all major drainage problems in the city will have been addressed according to city staff.

Budgeted in the general fund is $50,000 to start a Beach Management Plan reserve for consultant services, with $10,000 budgeted for Christmas light replacement on Gulf Boulevard.

The Finance and Budget Review Committee, chaired by Betsy McKenna, usually reviews the proposed budget concurrent with the City Commission. However, this year, the committee is taking a different approach. The committee decided on June 30 that it will meet three times prior to July 13 so that it can formulate recommendations to bring to commissioners by that date.
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