Times they are a-changing.
For the first year since 2008, the town is projecting taxable property values will increase. Preliminary estimates from the Sarasota and Manatee County property appraiser offices show a Key-wide 2.1% increase in property values.
The preliminary budget Town Manager Dave Bullock prepared for the Longboat Key Town Commission estimates the increase will give the town an extra $171,919 in ad valorem revenues, based on the current millage rate of 1.8872.
But the town is also bracing for a reduction of approximately $300,000 in non-ad valorem revenue. That’s because electric franchise fees were down approximately $75,000 due to mild winter weather.
Miscellaneous revenues are down by approximately $203,000 because of interest reductions and sale of fixed assets.
The town began the current fiscal year with a general fund balance of $4,464,151 and forecasts a balance of $4,097,651 when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 — a reduction of approximately $366,500, or 8.2%, because of unanticipated revenue shortfalls; 3% cost-of-living allowance (COLA) increases for town employees that went into effect earlier this year; and the use of the commission contingency to hire zoning and Comprehensive Plan consultants.
Building permit revenues have been better than expected during the current fiscal year.
Staff prepared the preliminary budget estimating the town’s required pension at $2.7 million, but the town won’t know the actual amount until late June.
Bullock noted in the budget that the upcoming fiscal year will be “a year of significant change” for the town’s pensions. The general employee and firefighter pension plans will be frozen Oct. 1; the town is still negotiating with its police union on a new contract, including pension changes.
Preliminary budgeted expenditures in the general fund are up by approximately $362,000, or approximately 2.6%, over the 2012-13 adopted budget. The increase consists of $500,000 in additional personnel costs and a $138,000 decrease in operating expenses.