Palmetto Bay village manager proposes budget

08/15/2014 5:57 PM

08/15/2014 5:58 PM

Palmetto Bay will begin landscaping, curb, and street light improvements in the triangle between Southwest 184th Street, U.S. 1 and Franjo Road next year, build two new batting cages at Palmetto Bay Park, plant more trees, and improve several safe routes to school.

That’s if the Village Council votes to approve the $14.4 million budget proposed this week by Village Manager Ron Williams.

“We’re very healthy – $11 million in reserves, that’s 80 to 90 percent of expenditures,” said village Finance Director Desmond Chin.

Property taxes are the village’s biggest revenue stream, with $5.73 million expected to come in next year if the tax rate of $2.447 per $1,000 in taxable home value – the same as this year – is adopted in September. That’s about $151,000 more than last year, due to a slight increase in property values. Utility taxes are expected to bring in about $3.3 million, intergovernmental revenue about $2.16 million and franchise fees about $1.2 million.

Negotiations between the Miami-Dade County police union and the county could, in a worst-case scenario, stick the village an additional $800,000 to cover in police expenses next year. Palmetto Bay contracts with the county for police services.

To prepare for this, the budget proposes allocating $7 million for police this year, or about $200,000 more than it budgeted for last year. Chin said that if that didn’t absorb additional costs from the county, the village would try and cut costs internally. If that isn’t enough, he said, the village could always do a budget readjustment during the year, which would require two public hearings.

Parks and Recreation, the village’s second most expensive department, would be allocated about $2.4 million this year. That’s about the same as it budgeted last year, and about $600,000 less than it actually spent.

Over-budgeting, especially in the parks department, is typical for the village, Chin said.

“There are a lot of variables in Parks and Recreation. … The biggest one is part-timers,” he said, adding that part-time workers were usually called in depending on events. This year, the village spent about $164,000 less on part-time workers than initially budgeted.

The budget proposes reclassifying two part-time positions in the parks department to full-time positions to meet growing demand for programming, and hiring one new part-time TV and camera technician in the village manager’s office.

In self-sustaining departments that do not take from the village general fund for revenue, Public Works proposes reclassifying one bus operator to full-time status, and Building and Capital Projects hopes to hire a new full-time assistant to the building official to assist with expected new development in the village.

As mandated by law, the village has set two public hearings to discuss the budget before its adoption. The first will be Sept. 8, the second Sept. 22, and both will be held at 7 p.m. at the municipal center at 9705 Hibiscus St.

The village has already posted its budget to the finance department’s section of its municipal website, www.palmettobay-fl.gov, but it will launch a special, prominently-advertised web page on Monday with the budget as well as related breakdowns, summaries and links.

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