SEMINOLE – The city of Seminole is considering a proposed budget of $14,769,552 for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins Oct. 1.
This is a slight increase over last year’s budget of $14,646,868.
Mayor Leslie Waters, who joined the City Council in 2009, said the budget during her first year on council was around $18 million.
“Every year we’ve reduced it,” she said at the city’s July 10 budget workshop. “So until we get things turned around, we certainly have proved that we can do more with less. It’s not always easy and we prioritize. In six years [to go] from $18 to $14 million, [that’s] something else.”
City Manager Frank Edmunds said the 2015 budget is balanced.
“It does budget to projected revenues, as we have for the past 19 years,” he said. “We’ve always taken a conservative look to revenue. It’s better to end the year with a surplus, if you will, or a fund balance, than not. We’ve been able to do that again, as we have for 19 years.”
The county’s property tax valuations for Seminole are anticipated to increase by 5.56 percent, the highest increase the area has seen in years, said Harry Kyne, the city’s director of administration. This is “a very positive thing,” he said.
The budget also maintains the current millage rate of 2.4793.
The Franchise Utility taxes indicate a slight increase, with anticipation of a higher number when the Bay Pines construction project is completed, Kyne said.
Meanwhile, the city’s projected Revenue Sharing Sales tax saw “a pretty big jump” to 16.2 percent, he said.
He also noted the funds the city receives from the county for providing fire rescue and EMS services to unincorporated areas will be $3,855,822 and $1,907,821, respectively.
Edmunds said the main cost increases for the city in 2015 involve pension expenses. He also noted that the city only saw a 4.5 percent increase in healthcare costs because Kyne was able to negotiate Aetna from its original proposed 9.5 percent increase.