INDIAN SHORES – The Town Council on Sept. 26 unanimously approved the proposed tax rate and budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The tax rate will be 1.87 mills, which is greater than the rolled-back rate of 1.7449 by 7.17 percent.
According to the documentation prepared by Susan Scrogham, director of finance and personnel, the preliminary taxable assessed value of property within the town increased to $956 million for the budget-adoption process. Since the town is maintaining its current tax rate of 1.87 mills, it will generate $149,292 more in taxes than last year.
The town’s budget will remain essentially the same with minor cost increases. Mayor Pat Soranno explained that surpluses will be set aside for debt reductions. This will allow the town to pay off the balance of the building loan on the Indian Shores Municipal Center an estimated three years ahead of schedule.
Richard Cristini, a partner of Davidson, Jamieson, & Cristini, P.L., the firm that audits Indian Shores’ financials, gave the presentation of the town’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Soranno summed up the report, saying, “We (Indian Shores) are in great shape.”
Police officer receives promotion
Acting Police Chief E.D. Williams asked that the Town Council approve a merit promotion to police officer Matthew Patsch from corporal to sergeant. The council unanimously approved the promotion. Patsch has been an officer with the Indian Shores Police Department for four years. Williams said that the promotion would have no budgetary impact.
Council approves additional hires and merit increases
The administrative and finance committee recommended that the town hire one additional full-time employee for Public Services and one part-time finance clerk. The council authorized the hiring of both employees effective Oct. 1.
Merit increases for Indian Shores employees were unanimously approved. The Administrative and Finance Committee recommended the increases and that they go into effective Oct. 1.
Proposal accepted to create renderings for monument concepts
Sculptor’s Mark Aeling’s proposal to create two 3-D renderings with multiple views of “The Guardian” and “Reclining Whelk” monument concepts at a cost of $4,000 was approved by a council vote of 4-1 with Councilor Mike Petruccelli voting against it.
Although the $4,000 is coming from Penny for Pinellas funds, the balance of the funding for the actual construction of the monuments may hit a snag due to a convoluted situation with the county’s disbursement of allocated funds.
Petruccelli wanted to hold off until the rest of the funding was guaranteed, but the mayor and the rest of the councilors felt the project should go ahead even if it became necessary to scale it down later on. The Arts Council recommends that the town move forward with the project. If the current funds are not used for the rendering, the funds go back to the county, and Indian Shores loses the opportunity altogether.
Youth Advisory Committee is dissolved
A resolution was passed by the town to dissolve the Youth Advisory Committee. The dissolution came about due to the waning of recruitment, membership, attendance, and participation. The ISYAC was originally founded in 2014.