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Longboat Key Wednesday, May. 19, 2010 7 years ago

Town manager addresses Key budget questions

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Town Commissioner David Brenner has asked Town Manager Bruce St. Denis for a summary of the major expense areas the town is reviewing and what conclusions town staff may reach when trying to reduce an expected $800,000 budget shortfall in fiscal year 2010-11.

Below is an overview of the town’s financial-and-operational changes the town has undertaken over the past few years to improve efficiencies and utilize less taxes to operate.

The budget will be discussed at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 20, at the Town Commission’s regular workshop.

Staff reductions since 2005
• Administrative services/Town Clerk — Reduced by two full-time positions

• Police Department — three full-time positions and two part-time positions

• Fire Rescue Department — one full-time position

• Parks Department — one full-time position

• Streets Department — one full-time position

• Building Division — four full-time positions

• Water Utilities — one full-time position

Expenditure reductions
• Cost-of-living adjustment raises will be eliminated for the third year in a row, saving the town $80,000 for every 1% increase in salary costs.

• Wage increases will not be given for the second year in a row, for an annual savings of $160,000.

• Travel-and-training costs are limited only to classes needed to maintain certifications and are down $58,000 since fiscal year 2006-07.

• A West Coast Inland Navigation District grant was obtained for the second year in a row, saving the town $146,000 to supplement police marine-patrol costs.

• Grants were obtained to pay for replacement vehicles for the police chief and marine patrol officer for a $60,000 savings.

• Switching to a pay-as-you-go program for major utility projects to finance projects through bond financing has saved the town $1.8 million in interest savings and allowed for utility-rate decreases.

• Worker’s compensation costs have decreased $82,000 since fiscal year 2007-08.

• Repairs and maintenance contracts for town properties are $22,000 lower than fiscal year 2006-07 due to contract renegotiations.

• Since fiscal year 2006-07, the town’s share of health-insurance costs have decreased by $262,000, and the town will consider sharing the potential increase in insurance costs with employees for the upcoming fiscal year.

• Using gas-tax revenues to pay for street department costs will reduce the amount of ad valorem taxes need by $450,000.

Contact Kurt Schulteis at [email protected].

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