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Longboat Key Wednesday, Sep. 9, 2009 8 years ago

Consultant fees on the rise

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Commissioner Gene Jaleski wants the costs of consultants to the town of Longboat Key to be cut in the 2009-10 fiscal year budget.

Jaleski sent an e-mail to Town Manager Bruce St. Denis last week, urging him to reduce consultant costs that rose from $1.7 million last year to $2.5 million in the current fiscal year.

The request isn’t a surprise to anyone following Town Hall politics.
In March, Jaleski’s commission campaign ran on a platform that included what he perceives as wasteful town spending.

“I have said the commission spends too much on consultants for years,” Jaleski said. “I would like to see the commission take a more proactive approach in monitoring how the town spends taxpayer money, especially in this area.”

Although the rest of the commission polled by The Longboat Observer agrees that consultant costs should be monitored, none of the other six commissioners believes the town has spent an exorbitant amount on consultant fees.

Mayor Lee Rothenberg said the town “is extremely careful” about hiring consultants.

And Commissioner George Spoll said he would rather hire a consultant for specific purposes rather than add an additional employee to the town’s payroll.

Commissioner Jim Brown agrees.

“We spend the most of our consultant fees for our beach consultant, but for that we gain knowledge and experience we don’t have on staff, Brown said.

St. Denis responded to Jaleski’s concerns in an e-mail that same day, Aug. 28, explaining that the recent increase in consultant activity “is related to additional work within the beach fund for the sand search, permitting for the upcoming beach project and a spike in utility work.”

Below is a look at what the town has spent in the last
three years on consultant fees to date. To see the chart, click on the link below.

Consultant fees

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