Monday’s workshop will be Commission’s first look at the proposed 2019/2020 budget, and a second workshop, where Commission will review each budget account and approve a millage rate window, will be on July 29. The final budget and millage rate will be approved in two hearings – Sept. 3 and Sept. 17.
The proposed 2019/2020 budget projects general fund revenues of $15,762,480, assuming Commission keeps the millage rate at 3.95, and general fund expenditures, which includes merit raises of up to 3 percent for city staff, of $15,744,230, for a difference of $18,250 that would go into the city’s general fund reserves.
Those figures are based on assumptions that include a 5.39 percent increase in property values, a 12 percent increase in medical insurance premiums, a 10 percent increase in dental insurance premiums, a 3 percent increase in workers comp and general liability insurance premiums and a 4 percent increase in electricity costs. The projections also include a 3.33 increase in the city’s contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
City staff is recommending stormwater rate increases in fiscal years 2022 and beyond, and a 4 percent increase in the sanitation and recycling rate for 2019/2020 to cover a similar increase in fees Pinellas County charges the city.
The budget, however, leaves $800,000 in unfunded street repair and replacement projects, and Commission will be asked whether they want to approve transfers from reserves to fund those projects, as there are no consistent revenue streams to pay for them, outside of the projected $240,000 in annual Local Option Gas Tax revenues.
City staff also is recommending Commission discuss Safety Harbor Marina slip fees and a new seawall, deck and dredging at the marina, capital projects and street repaving in the Street Improvement Fund, an expected increase in the cost for the city to recycle in future years, maintenance and repairs for the shared Clearwater Northeast Treatment Plant and expected future increases in utility capital projects.
ALSO ON THE AGENDA …
Changes to Future Land Map and zoning of new city property: Commission will consider housekeeping changes to the Future Land Map and zoning for two parcels of city land: an addition to Folly Farm and land recently acquired for an expansion of the main Public Works Complex. If approved, the Folly Farm parcel at 1538 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street North will switch from Residential Low (RL) to Recreation/Open Space (R/OS) in the Future Land Use Map and from Single-Family Residential (R-1) to Public and Conservation (P) zoning, while the Public Works parcel at 2157 Railroad Avenue will switch from Residential Low (RL) to Transportation/Utility (T/U) in the Future Land Use Map and from Single-Family Residential (R-2) to Public and Conservation (P) zoning. While the city’s Planning & Zoning Board recommends approval of the Folly Farm changes, it recommends denial of the Public Works changes, citing a lack of data concerning future site design and buffering and access.
Ready for 100 renewable energy initiative resolution: At a recent Commission meeting, a Sierra Club representative and supporters urged Commission to join the Ready for 100 campaign, which seeks to establish deadlines for switching to completely renewable energy. The resolution, if approved, would give the city until 2021 to draft a plan to show the city’s commitment to using 100 percent renewable energy.
Retirement recognition: Streets & Stormwater Supervisor Lenny DeGroat is retiring after 37 years of service to the city.
Consent agenda: Items expected to have little debate, such as approval of the last meeting’s minutes and most contracts, are included en masse in the consent agenda, though any Commissioner can ask for any item to be considered separately. This meeting’s consent agenda includes approval of a purchase order for a sewer line replacement project at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Powhatan streets, a contract for brick repairs at the intersections of Main Street and 6th and 7th Avenues North and buying the bricks for those repairs.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
Attend the meeting: The regular meeting starts at 7 p.m., with the Budget Workshop starting at 6 p.m., at City Hall, 750 Main St. Meetings typically run from 1.5 to three hours. Residents are given the opportunity to speak on all agenda items, except for presentations and consent agenda items. Come forward when asked by the mayor, state your name and address, and you’ll be given three minutes to address the Commission. For any issues not on the agenda, or any item that is on the consent agenda, residents get three minutes to speak at the beginning of the meeting during “Audience to be Heard.”