Cutler Bay

Cutler Bay council votes on first reading to increase reserves

A small agenda should still improve important services to Cutler Bay.

The Cutler Bay town council met at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16.

The main item

A unanimous town council vote passed on first reading an ordinance to increase the minimum reserve percentage for the reserve fund balance of the town’s annual general fund budget. The ordinance, which raises the town’s contingency reserves from a minimum of 10 percent to 15 percent, will be heard for second reading on Oct. 21.

The town council discussed raising the minimum amount to 17 percent for the final hearing. A goal of the citizens’ strategic plans was for the town to be “a fiscally responsible and accountable community.” By raising the minimum percentage of contingency reserves, the town would be less likely to use emergency funds by unintended means.

“In 2013, I sponsored an ordinance requiring the town to create a fund balance policy in the form of a minimum contingency reserve of 10 percent,” Mayor Peggy Bell said. “This was born from conversations with our town manager, who had instituted such a policy while working for another city, along with advice from our financial director and other experts.”

“The GFOA, Government Finance Officers Association’s, best practices recommends at least two months expenditures be held in an emergency reserve fund. Though we are well in excess of that amount, I felt it was important to set a minimum percentage as a policy and now to increase it.”

Other business

▪ Town center: The council approved a resolution authorizing Town Manager Ralph Casals to issue a purchase order not to exceed $41,004 to Ferguson, Glasgow, Shuster, Soto to provide design services for the town center building planned community center project. The 4,212 square feet of office space will consist of open exercise space, community training rooms, a group fitness room, arts and crafts room and office space.

▪ Safe schools: A resolution authorizing the issuance of a request for proposal for Safe Routes to School design services to Cutler Bay Middle School was approved on the consent agenda. The town previously retained Kimley-Horn and Associates to perform a pedestrian safety audit of the road conditions along Gulfstream Road between Southwest 210th Street and Franjo Road, including potential pedestrian improvements associated with Gulfstream Elementary and Cutler Bay Middle schools.

▪ Disaster debris: The town will also issue a request for proposal for disaster debris monitoring services. Cutler Bay’s public works department is responsible to clear locally owned roadways of debris during a natural disaster, while the county public works or solid waster department and Florida Department of Transportation clear major arterial roadways. If a major disaster strikes and the county cannot remove roadside debris in a timely and effective manner, the town may activate its emergency debris removal services contractors.

They said it

“We felt that it was time to increase (minimum reserve percentage). By increasing it, we are challenging staff, and the council as well, because that increase is tied into our annual budget. So as our budget grows, our fund balance, our ‘rainy day’ fund balance, will grow as well.” — Town Manager Ralph Casals.

The next meeting

▪ When: 7 p.m. Oct. 21

▪ Where: Town Hall, 10720 Caribbean Blvd.