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Sarasota Thursday, Sep. 24, 2009 8 years ago

Surtax project costs trimmed

by: Robin Roy City Editor

The city is amending the voter-approved 1% surtax project list by more than $8 million to help balance the budget.

The surtax III project list includes capital-improvement items ranging from streetscape improvements to burying utility lines.

Because it was faced with having to cut $9 million from its budget this year, the city is cutting funding for landscape and streetscape improvements, the canopy-tree program, traffic calming, street reconstruction and an upgrade of parks and recreation facilities.

But balancing the budget was not the only reason for the funding change.

According to Chris Lyons, city finance director, the $1.7 million reduction in the new $15 million Robert L. Taylor Community Complex in north Sarasota is due to the lower cost of the bonds used to borrow money for the project.

The City Commission wanted to fast track the burying of utility lines on Coon Key and improvements in Burns Square, so they had shifted money out of the surtax’s second phase to do so. The money being moved out of those projects is now being put back into the surtax II projects.

The hardening of City Hall and annex buildings against storm damage was originally going to be funded out of the surtax III, but the city will instead take the $1,278,000 needed out of its general fund, which will leave that money for community-improvement projects.

“We didn’t want to reduce other community-oriented projects funded by the surtax,” Lyons said.

To view a list of the amended surtax projects, click here.

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