Pinecrest budget grows slightly

Increased hours at the Pinecrest Community Center, security cameras at parks, new bike and pedestrian paths along U.S. 1, and beautification projects along the U.S. 1 and Kendall Drive medians are among the projects included in a 2014-15 budget that Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez has proposed to the Pinecrest Village Council.

Spending is expected to increase slightly, with a proposed operating budget totaling $20.76 million, up about 2 percent from the $20.32 million expected spent this year.

Operating budget revenues are expected to total $20.37 million. Taxes in general will contribute the largest chunk of that with $11.5 million, including $8.27 million from property tax. Licenses and permits are expected to contribute $3.1 million.

“We’re on track with what we had projected would be happening when we did our five-year and 10-year projections,” Galiano said. “There haven’t been any surprises, or anything that impacted significantly the projections. We’re in good shape.”

A few big-ticket items for the village, like storm-water and transportation costs, don’t come out of the operating budget, but out of special funds designated for those purposes.

The storm-water fund, for example, is supported by a $4 a month utility fee per household, and the budget recommends raising that to $5 a month to meet mounting infrastructure planning and building costs. From its transportation fund, the village anticipates spending $1 million in paving costs.

The budget also would fund increased hours at the community center, security cameras at municipal parks, artificial turf at Flagler Grove park, new bike and pedestrian paths along U.S. 1, resurfaced streets throughout the village, beautification projects along the U.S. 1 and Kendall Drive medians, more community events, and new safe routes to school.

New costs include $406,680 for a 2.5 percent salary bump for village employees — except for the village manager and clerk, whose salaries are set by council during the budget process — as well as $156,170 to replace a broken air conditioning unit and a new phone system for the municipal center and police station. The police department is getting an additional $67,229 to replace five vehicles, buy new equipment, and pay for park security cameras, and the planning department is replacing hardware to the tune of $47,110.

The red-light camera program is expected to generate $1.25 million in new revenue for the village.

The village is also proposing to hire a victim services coordinator in the police department, a full-time park service aide, and to re-classify a park manager to park superintendent.

As for extending county water lines to the roughly 1,000 Pinecrest households still using well water — the village is setting aside $75,000 for the third year in a row, though Galiano said that this is just a “token” amount.

That project is expected to cost approximately $12 million, she said, and the village isn’t expecting residents to shoulder the bulk of that burden. Looking for funding elsewhere is the main reason the village hired regular lobbyists, Galiano said.

The village also began levying an impact fee in 2013 on new residential constructions to put toward the water line project, but the fee has also raised a nominal amount — $18,768 that year and $15,609 so far this year.

Last month, Galiano received council approval to advertise a tax rate of $2.40 per $1,000 in taxable property value, up 20 cents from last year. Galiano said before the vote that the final tax rate should be lowered back down to $2.20 in September if the council ultimately approved the budget as it stands now — without going ahead in the short term with four large capital improvement projects at the Coral Pine and Wayside parks, municipal center and community center.

Galiano will host a town hall on the budget at 6 p.m. on Aug. 12, and the council has rescheduled its budget workshop to 9 a.m. Aug. 18. Both will be held in the council chambers at the municipal center, 12645 Pinecrest Pkwy.

As mandated by law, the village has also set two public hearings, one on Sept. 9, and the other on Sept. 23, to discuss the budget. The hearings are both at 7 p.m., also at the municipal center.

The budget is available for review at

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