Council members tentatively agreed to keep the rate at $3.20, but planned to discuss the matter again at their final hearing next week.
Another point of contention were the budgets for various line-items that had large amounts of unspent funds this year but were maintaining the same budgets. Money unspent by departments does not rollover into the next year and is instead applied toward the General Fund.
One specific item was the Youth Council, which several members suggested had been unsuccessful in recent years and had a large amount of unspent funds this year. While plans earlier this year had called to eliminate the council, the current plans call for a reduction in public funds contributed by the village while private sources of revenue from a local foundation would help fund the remaining necessary to still maintain the organization.
Despite the significant surpluses, council members were generally keen on reducing costs wherever possible. For example, the council decided to switch phone systems from traditional landlines to more advanced Internet-based phones, which would reduce phone costs dramatically and also give access to their numbers from off the island. Vice Mayor Mayra Peña Lindsay suggested that the council wanted to maintain the same level of services Key Biscayne residents enjoy while still keeping costs low.
“We want the Ritz-Carlton type service. It’s a model here in the village.”
While many points were contested, there was no debate on salary increases for village employees. Non-union employees, general employees and police will all see an 0.9 percent increase in pay; in addition, some police and fire employees will see a 5 percent step increase and general employees will be eligible for a merit increase that will amount to up to 4 percent based on performance evaluations.
The final budget meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Village Hall, 88 W. McIntyre St. The new budget year begins on Oct. 1.