The Longboat Key Town Commission discussed everything from millage rates to The Longboat Key Club and Resort’s Islandside redevelopment application at two special meetings Thursday, Aug. 27, at Town Hall.
Town Manager Bruce St. Denis said that although his recommended 2009-10 fiscal-year budget reveals a balanced budget at 1.4952 mills, he recommends the commission adopt the maximum millage rate of 1.6 mills to generate an extra $500,000 to offset an anticipated $1 million shortfall in the 2010-11 budget year.
Mayor Lee Rothenberg, who has urged the commission to raise the millage rate since the budget process started, agreed with the town manager’s recommendation.
But the majority of the commission debated whether additional changes to the recommended budget need to be made before it’s adopted on second reading at a special meeting at 5:01 p.m. Tuesday, Sept 29.
Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Robert Siekmann said that the balanced recommended budget that could be adopted guarantees, at the very least, a $350,000 deficit because of continued building department shortfalls and a commission contingency fund that’s paid for out of reserves instead of ad valorem revenues.
“The question is, are we willing to spend more in reserves, raise the millage rate or cut enough to resolve this before we discuss the budget on first reading on Sept. 14?” Siekmann asked.
The commission must decide whether to adopt St. Denis’ recommended budget that would lower the town’s current millage rate of 1.5 mills or raise taxes to offset anticipated losses expected next year.
The next budget discussion will be held on first reading and public hearing at the commission’s 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14 regular meeting.
Also at its Thursday, Aug. 27 special meeting and special workshop, the Longboat Key Town Commission:
• A resolution that tentatively awards a $2.1 million contractor bid that will pay for a project, starting in October, that would upgrade town water lines along Gulf of Mexico Drive from Bay Isles Road to the south end of the Key.
• The date the town’s 2009-10 fiscal-year budget will be adopted from 5:01 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28 to 5:01 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29, in observance of Rosh Hashanah.
• That the Longboat Key Club and Resort’s $400 million Islandside redevelopment application may come before them this year. Town Attorney David Persson told the commission that a best-case scenario shows the seven-person board reviewing the project in the first week of December. Persson and Town Manager Bruce St. Denis asked the commission to consider blocking two days off in December to review the project and said the commission could make a final ruling on the project in January. Several hurdles exist, however, that could delay the timeline, including the appeals process. The Planning and Zoning Board, Persson said, may also need more time to review the project before it considers sending it forward for the commission’s review.
For more information about Thursday’s special budget meeting, pick up a copy of the Thursday, Sept. 3 Longboat Observer.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at email@example.com.
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