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Here’s The Scoop … LBTS Special Budget Meeting … Better Piece Of Pie This Year? …Updated …

UPDATES:…The TM made a few changes over the weekend from the budget proposal I used and the one that is now online and will be used tonight …As far as I can tell right now…the changes are the $500,000 proposed transfer from the Emergency Fund to Municipal is no longer proposed due to some discomfort from some Comms…Too bad..I thought it made sense if it could not be used for any other purpose…So the department budget is different for Municipal which now only shows a decrease of 4.6%  ($86,896) which was included after the first proposal in another paragraph…and the Emergency Fund goes back to the 2.39 mil. ….Also the %s for Homestead properties is different than the 1st draft on Friday … they will likely see their property valuations go up 3% and their Town taxes go up 8% with the Manager proposed 4.2199 millage rate …stating in dollars that is $35 per $100,000 valuation of their property …and still trying to lessen the blow by stating those properties still pay less than neighbors with identical homes who purchased at a later date…38% of LBTS residential properties are homesteaded and some who bought after the real estate decline will “enjoy the tax decrease because their market value is declining”…OUCH!… This writer as stated at the bottom still hold to a low millage…Make cuts elsewhere … Any other changes…will update….

NEW TOWN MANAGER …. NEW RECIPE …

TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA
TOWN COMMISSION
SPECIAL HEARING
Jarvis Hall
4501 Ocean Drive
Tuesday July 27, 201o
6:00 PM

Dear Readers…… The new budget including justification sheets was not online until this morning… (Thanks to the Int. TM and PIO D’Oliveira )… This writer was able to obtain a copy  over the weekend and will give some overview and some highlights before the 6 pm meeting tomorrow night…so no agenda posted for the Reg Comm meeting that follows.. or  5:30 pm Coral Reef project Workshop Wed. night/7 pm Roundtable…I will post after each though…

I will begin by stating the document is worlds apart in presentation from the previous Town Manager’s budget…More cohesive and an easier read… Interim Town Manager Hoffmann and her Interim Finance Director Doug Haag along with some staff have come up with some well needed changes and ideas that need to done to make a huge leap forward…Some of what she wants is to similar to Ms. Colon and most likely any Town Manager when it comes to revenue for the Town and trying to make the public understand the millage rate… Ms. Hoffmann was left with quite a mess after Colon’s termination and anyone still holding onto the “myth” that Colon was a great Finance Director/Town Manager must still be going on word of mouth and lacking any first hand investigating…. With what has come to light as a result of the overpayment of public funds to Colon due to the questionable swift payout now in litigation is truly mind-boggling … in this writer’s opinion…How Colon and her predecessor Baldwin kept all the balls up in the air for so long was quite some feat…If there’s a contest for that she would be the winner …hands down… but for money management and managing a Town…she gets a big fat “F”…again in this writer’s opinion…

THE BUDGET ….

The Interim Town Manager began with her letter of recommendation for the 2010/11 to the Commission …she wrote that in accordance with Article V, Section 5.5 (7) of the Town’s Charter …

“These have been unusual circumstances under which to develop a budget. I have been your Interim Town Manager for only a few months and I have had to focus on issues other than the budget during my short tenure with the Town. And it is the first budget for Commissioners Sasser and Vincent who took office only this spring. The Commission and I have really not had the opportunity to discuss your strategic vision for the Town in advance in preparing the budget.

I view the municipal operating budget as an operating plan for the coming year but, more importantly as a means of making incremental progress towards the achievement of an agreed-upon vision of the future. The Town’s current Mission and Vision Statements provide some direction, but not enough to translate into a strategic road map.

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA VISION STATEMENT

The Commission is committed to supporting our citizens, so that they may uphold civic pride and quality of life within our Town and continue to reside and/or pursue business within out charming community.

LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA MISSION STATEMENT

The Commission is committed, under complete transparency, to pursue the will of the people, and acknowledge that any decisions shall maintain and enhance the charm and pattern of a people-friendly seaside village.”

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BC- here’s the rest of the Mission Statement…

To focus on and achieve the Town’s vision and mission statements, we will uphold the following values:

1.    Town Administration exists to serve our community.  We will provide open access, encourage involvement, and ensure accountability.

2.    Town employees are invaluable.  We will attract the best recruits, retain the top employees, and invest in personal and professional growth.

3.    Under honest, ethical, and diligent values, we will provide outstanding customer service that is polite, friendly, and responsive.

4.    Neighborhood involvement is crucial.  We will preserve continued encouragement in our tradition of community participation for all Town activities and functions.

5.    Economic viability is essential to our Town’s success.  We will assure fairness in the collection and spending of all public funds while effectively ensuring the Town’s short and long term financial strength.

6.    To assure a safe and protective environment, we will comply with the Town Charter, as well as local, state, and federal laws.

7.    Maintaining the natural environment of the Town is essential.  We will strive to preserve and protect the Town’s charm, beaches, and finite natural resources.

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ITM Hoffman-“I hope that in the year to come the Town will hold a series of consensus-building events and discussions with a broad spectrum of the community to develop a vision that is embraced by the citizens, the business owners, elected officials and the staff as a future we are all excited by, will work hard to implement, and will be guided by our decision-making. I have recommended funding for such a process in the proposed budget.

In the meantime, I have tried to focus on several important themes I have heard from the Commission in both individual and group discussions in preparing this recommended budget:

1) Improved transparency regarding Town’s finances;

2) Begin to address drainage problems in the Town via the Capital Improvement Plan;

3) Coordinate capital project planning so the same streets and sidewalks are not torn up multiple times for different projects;

4) Provide improved customer service both in direct human contacts and through our website;

5) Upgrade the Town’s outdated technological hardware ans software; and

6) Be cognizant of the difficulties the national recession and the real estate market decline in Florida have imposed on our residents and businesses in crafting the budget.

As Interim Manager I have not proposed restructuring the organization so there is no change in the number of funded positions in the budget. However, that does not mean that we are not taking steps to make the organization more efficient.

In the pages that follow, we have described the most salient features of the proposed budget. Due to time constraints, this budget message is not accompanied by the large narrative and many graphs and charts that you are accustomed to receiving with the budget message, but those documents will be provided to you and posted on the Town’s website well in advance of the public hearings on the millage rate later this summer.”

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BC- A look at the budget shows how the staffing will change …and it is the consensus among the majority on the dais from the campaign trail and the dais that “thinking outside the box”…i.e. contracting out …employee/ services “sharing” between municipalities etc… to cut down on the benefits etc…that accompany full time hires in government… Again, it is the hope of this writer that this budget and the justification sheets along with any changes made will be kept online …while maintaining each version to see the process that results in the final budget in September…

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THE ALL FUNDS BUDGET

“The total all funds proposed budget for fiscal year 2010/2011 is $15,347.015 compared to $15,502.557 in the current fiscal year, a decrease of 1% or $155,542. The decrease in all funds is caused by a combination of factors which are explained throughout the budget message.

THE GENERAL FUND BUDGET

The General Fund is the largest of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea’s funds and represents _% of the total budget. It is where most of the functions of government are housed including the legislative and management functions, finance and administration, Municipal Services, Development Services, and Recreation. The recommended General Fund budget for fiscal 2010/2011 is $12, 098.322 compared to $11, 869, 910 in the current fiscal year, an increase of $228,412. This increase is entirely caused by the proposed inclusion of a $500,000 transfer from the Emergency/ Storm reserve discussed earlier. Without the transfer, the General fund would have actually decreased next fiscal year by $270,000.

An explanation of the salient changes in both revenues and expenditures in the General Fund is discussed below and in the pages that follow.

GENERAL FUND REVENUES

Were it not for the aforementioned transfer of $500,000 from the Emergency/Storm reserve, projected General Fund Revenues in the next fiscal year would have actually decreased when compared to the current year budget. The reasons for the decrease are a proposed reduction in property taxes, a decline of franchise fees on waste collection services, and a reduction in the amount of money that the Parking Fund contributes to the General Fund. A more detailed discussion of major revenue sources follows.

AD VALOREM TAXES

The largest revenue source in the General Fund is the ad valorem tax levied on real property and taxable commercial personal property located in the Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. The Manager’s recommended budget for FY 2010/2011 call for a 3% reduction in property taxes.”

Page 4 includes the BC Property Appraisers certification of taxable value of properties in LBTS as of Jan 1, 2010…there was a “nominal increase in the certified roll compared to the estimated tax roll we received from the Property Appraiser in May.”…”The value of real property is the value of the parcel AFTER all the exemptions to which the property owner is entitled is taken off the assessed value of the property.”…She went on to explain the homestead and senior citizen as well as disabled vets exemptions … “Total taxable value of real and personal property ” in LBTS has declined 8.2% from $1,911,499, 581 in 2009 to $1,754,066,667…She went on to again add $19,067,427 in new construction was added to the tax roll on Jan. 1, 2010 so it decreases it a bit to $1,773,134,094…or 7.2%…

“The decline in the taxable values means that the millage rate would have to increase from 3.9990 mils to 4.3553 mills in order to generate the same amount of ad valorem property tax income next year as the Town collects this year (not considering what comes from new construction.)”

Ms. Hoffmann addresses what she thinks is  the “misunderstanding by the public and some journalists about how the millage rates work.”… stating it is only half of the equation of determining how much the property owner will pay in taxes…that it “reflects the number of dollars the Town collects for every $1,000 0f taxable value of each property.” …She explained the ups and downs of the property values and how they effect the income for the Town…She added that it needs to be stressed the property taxes are not going up if the millage is increased and stated the property owners who benefited from the provisions in “Save Our Homes” referendum will likely see a 3% increase while non-homestead owners who bought in the last 5-6 years will see a  decrease…She then compares “apples to apples” the roll back calculation ignores the new construction value added to the tax roll.. She states FL State Statutes leave it out of the equation because they assume there is a new service burden on the municipalities…

“The Town Manager’s recommended budget calls for a millage rate of 4.21993″…then reiterating the above …

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BC- This writer holds to the millage being kept low and cuts coming from the Town’s bloated savings…staffing and in Town services…preferring revenue to come from reductions of those and from realistic fees for users of whatever they decide to avail themselves of…such as permit parking…and recreational classes…( see below) …..

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Page 4 continues with some troubling news…

“Even though the Town budgeted to collect only 95% of the revenue that should be collected by the ad valorem levy ( which is a common practice and allowed by state law) we are behind in property tax collections in the current fiscal year because of late payments and because of successful appeals by taxpayers to their property evaluations. Property owners have the right to challenge the property Appraiser’s valuation of theri property and, if successful, the Town’s valuations go down after the Town’s budget is adopted and millage rate set. The Town’s total taxable values were reduced by $26 million in the appeal process in the past tax years, resulting in a loss of $103,000 in tax revenue to the Town”

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BC- we are told that quite a few motels on El Mar Drive are delinquent in their property taxes as well as multiple properties going to foreclosure due to being upside down in their mortgages and they state being advised to forgo payment in order to get a new rate …

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FIRE ASSESSMENT FEES

“The next single largest source of revenue to the Town is the Fire Assessment Fees that are levied at the rate of $130 per year per residential property and from $249.50 to $9,971.00 per year for non-residential properties, depending on square footage. The rate has remained the same since FY 2007/2008 and no adjustment is proposed. The fees will generate approximately $1 million next fiscal year.”

The Int. TM described the usage being statutorily limited to Town fire protection and suppression …it will generate this year and next more revenue than the cost of the VFD contract and ancillary costs (audits/ retirement etc…) and she purposes to designate the balance as a “fire reserve” to fund equipment or delay fee increases in the future…this year $87,000 next $65,000 …it impacts the General Fund negatively but there is “no choice in the matter” due to the statute..

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BC- This writer’s opinion the VFD is paid too much for approx. 60 members who are supposed to be volunteers… Although we can all agree the cost is much less than a paid department …the present version of the VFD are paid with some making between $1200-1500 a month we are told for mostly going on medical calls…We hear residents and some Commissioners still hold fast to that being curtailed drastically…Also in question the split of the revenue coming from annual fire inspections and re-inspections…We are told that is against statute to allow for any revenue…the fees are only supposed to cover the costs of the inspections…

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UTILITY TAXES AND FRANCHISE FEES

“These two sources combined generate over $1.6 million in revenue to the General Fund. The utility tax levy is 10% on electric, water and natural tax bills and the franchise fees vary according to the franchise business.”…The rest of the summary breaks it down 6% elec/natural gas consumption/7% vehicle towing/3.76% res. waste collection & 10% comm. waste collection in town…the bulk is FP&L billing…They expect a slight increase in utility tax collections next year and a significant decrease in waste franchise fees …Choice Environmental Services appear to be the reason but the staff will evaluate further ….

STATE SHARED REVENUES

Included are municipal revenue sharing ,sales tax, communication sales tax …telephone/cell phone and portion of gas taxes…current year budgeted $899,000 in revenue…expect only $850,000 ..”However the State of Florida Department of revenue estimates that income from these sources to increase approximately $960,000 next fiscal year as the economy improves.”

TRANSFERS INTO THE GENERAL FUND

“As mentioned earlier, we have proposed to transfer $500,000 from the Storm Emergency Reserve into the General Fund and offset it by a $500,000 expenditure account in the Municipal Service Department budget that will be used only if the Town is hit by a major storm or catastrophe”

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BC- An explanation later in the report states doing this makes any need to use the funds readily available rather than calling a Comm. meeting to approve its use…Smart move… BUT …the bloated Emergency Funds …still well over the 15%  stated Town policy should be lessened no matter which department they are in…..

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“The Parking Fund will only be able to transfer $107,000 to the General Fund next year, a decrease from this year’s budgeted transfer of $165,000. The reasons are explained in the Parking Fund section of the budget message.”

GENERAL FUND EXPENDITURES

“As is always the case, expenditures for public safety exceed expenditures for any other functional area in the recommended budget A full 40% of the General Fund budget is devoted to funding police, fire and emergency medical operations ($4.9 million). The Town has historically considered Development Service to be a public safety function, although only a portion of their activities fall into that realm. However, if they are included in the public safety calculation, it increases to 43% ($5.3million) of the General Fund budget.”

The second largest is the expenditures for “general government functions”…legislative, executive, legal, finance including risk management, public information and administrative operations….The Int. TM has left the % s blank for these when addressing portions budgeted for general gov. and transportation functions (streets, sidewalks, parking,street lighting) as well as leaving %s blank for personal services expenditures stating they have not received the FLOCities insurance costs but have budgeted a 10% increase… “Contractual Services (mostly our contracts for public safety services) account for $__ or __% of the General Fund budget. Capital outlay and capital construction outlay makes up another __% of the General Fund budget, with proposed expenditures of __$ next fiscal year…

BC-LOVE THIS PART ….

The Int. TM explains on pg 8 that LBTS “budget books indicate that it is Town budgetary policy to give cost-of-living adjustments to all employees “tied to the annual Broward inflation index projections available by October 1 of each fiscal year. The code and the personnel rules do not indicate this policy, but perhaps there was a resolution adopted or this is a long-standing Town policy. “…

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BC-This was discussed when the payout investigation began…that employees were routinely given the COLA without the Commissioners voting for it… Mere passage of the budget was the assumption they agreed!… OUCH!…

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The Int. TM recommends that instead of cost-of-living adjustments we make adjustments to pay only where there is a large inequity (15% or more) the prevailing job in the local market and drop the “policy” to replace it with “merit increase system where all employees  can move up through the Commission-approved pay range for their position based on the quality of their performance. Under this system, pay ranges would not increase on the basis of cost of living, but would be adjusted upward or downward based on the results of the market studies of salaries paid for jobs done every 3-5 years.”

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BC-YAHOO!….

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Page 9 ….has the Department Comparisons current budget comp. recommended budget …Commission -1.88%/Donations +30.13%/ Chamber +23.06%/ Executive Administration -7.o7%/Town Atty -15.43%/ General Government +3.75%/ Police +5.03%/ Fire +1.74%/ EMS -4.00%/ Development Services +4.23%/ Municipal Services +23.11%/ Parking +11.36%/ Recreation +0.29%/Transfer to CIP -22.64%

Explanations of the increases/decreases…

Commission-will they or will they not take 4% increase…most likely not…surprised there is not a bigger drop due to loss of ins.& cell phone payments for dais members with the change last March…

Chamber of Commerce -budgeted $55,000 as Chamber requested…it is up to the Chamber liaison and Comm. Sasser the Comm. liaison to explain why this is needed to move the Chamber forward …building maintenance was decreased…We long heard scheduled grass cutting was done far to often etc… The new roof is in current budget…

Development Services Department-$15,030 increase …”FY 2011 $25,000 for a community visioning process and preparation of a strategic plan which will set clear direction for all municipal operations and will help in prioritizing the many project the many projects on our plate” Dept. has limited /reasonable funds for engineering and planning services and no capital funds budgeted as the dept. completes upgrades of computers in FY10…

EMS- AMR get 4% increase and sent notice it wants it …increase $28,000

Executive/Administrative Department- decrease of 7% ($67,000) result of lower TM salary and attendant costs and the transfer of some public information expenses to Gen. Gov. Dept…

Fire Department-increasing $17,000 next year due to the cut in Fire Marshal position of $approx. $70,000 ..VFD asked for $125,000 for fire truck purchase…Consultant Town retained said $100,000 in reserves yearly but will be in a Town reserve…VFD agreeable to that…

General Government Department-

“I have proposed significant alterations to this Department’s budget, which is set up to capture expenditures that could have a broad impact on government operations.”…Int. TM Hoffmann stated the PIO is budgeted in this dept. and she moved 85% of the Asst. TM in as well stating he is “currently budgeted in the Community Standards section of the Municipal Services Department, which does not make much sense given the Assistant Town Manager’s responsibilities have little to do with landscaping maintenance or trash collection.”

“It is recommended that we eliminate the $340,000 reserve account that is budgeted here in the current fiscal year for the stormwater study and unexpected expenses. Instead, we have increased the consultant account by $50,000 to cover unplanned studies or analysis that need to be done next year.”

We propose to increase the contingency account in this Department from $118,000 to $275,000 because we eliminated the contingency accounts that appear in other Department budgets “…She added issues to be discussed before Sept. such as buying rather than leasing a sweeper truck (thought we owned ours and it was bought not too long ago?)..other topics to discuss inequities of employee compensation (prev. posts) and using FLOCities for help in managing risk/ins. programs…then some of the contingency funds may be allotted to those departments…She also recommends stopping the annual $118,000 transfer for Emergency/Storm Reserve…She reiterated that reserve ($2,329,648 before the transfer of $500,000 recommended above)along with the undesignated Gen Fund ($2,189,349)…The IT consultant recommends an $80,000 investment in new computer hardware,networking equipment etc…New software and pc purchases will be bought this year and the rest will be purchased out of  Department capital outlay accounts next year…

Police Department- The police will increase by $152,000 next year per their 5% increase and she stated the BSO contract is coming up and the Sheriff will be pressured to increase what he charges us …included also was the County wanting individual cities to pay for emergency call center operations currently paid for in our county tax bill…$6,000 is in next year’s budget to pay for automated emergency calls similar to other towns for alerts to residents…water boil/evacuations etc…

Municipal Services Department-She suggests the $500,000 moved to assist with the Hurricane/disaster cleanup for quick action to be taken in the aftermath taking away the requirement of a Commission meeting too appropriate the funds..no emergency then the funds go back to the Emergency Fund and are re-budgeted the following year…

Removing the $500,000 from the Muni operating budget decreases 5% from the FY10 adopted budget…main reason for decrease…the move of the Asst. TM 85% of him goes to Gen Gov./15% to parking (he oversees Muni/Devel./Parking Directors and CIP)…

She included $12,780 for painting the exterior of the Public Safety Complex /$80,000 storm drain rehabilitation/$50,000 emergency repair to storm drain infrastructure…

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BC- not too pleased putting any money into the Public Safety Complex …purely because I still think it was a sham to purchase it…

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Parking Department-“FY11 budget of $192,922 is up 11% ($19,683) as the result of transferring 15% of the Asst. TM salary to this budget offset the decrease in operating expenses…Projected parking revenue is $283,095 or $90,173 greater than the expense of the General Fund parking operations”

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BC- I would like the parking department to be contracted out if it is found that such a service would cut down on benefits while providing better service …

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Recreation- The Int. TM states the budget “will barely change” and makes the following recommendations “that the Commission consider some changes in the way we offer certain programs. The Town currently pays two instructors to teach tennis and karate to the public free of charge. The practice in most municipal recreation programs is to charge for such classes and contract with instructors utilizing a revenue sharing agreement, typically 70/30 or 80/20 with the larger amount going to the instructor.” …She went on to explain “it provides an incentive to the instructor and attracts more participants, as their income is directly affected by the level of participation.” … She added that under the current system taxpayers are paying “very,very few of them participate in.”…Participation in karate is high and she feels this is something that should be implemented Oct. 1…The “community Center “is showing wear and needs to be updated”..Municipal Services Dir. is working on the ceiling and lights using funds from current/future budget and a $4,000 donation specifically for the center and she has included funds to replace the rest of the computers and buy additional equipment in next years budget…

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BC- Love the recreational idea…long overdue…As for the Community Center we heard the ceiling and lights were done this past week along with painting and cleaning the carpets…Come on…have you seen the carpet?…It needs to be replaced and everything on the Director’s list should be done…Finally this year Armillio Bien-Aime gets a raise!… That and the Comm. voting no more of his own money to advertise in Topics should make him a happy camper…

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PROPRIETARY (ENTERPRISE) FUNDS

“Proprietary or Enterprise Funds are Funds where the revenues connected with providing a municipal service are supposed to completely offset the cost of the service. The Town has two Proprietary Funds-The Parking Fund and the Sewer Fund.”

SEWER ENTERPRISE FUND

“There are two serious deficiencies in the Sewer Fund that must be addressed. First the revenues generated through the sewer charges do not cover the related expenditures and it would require a 35-49% increase in the sewer rates to generate sufficient revenues to offset expenditures next year. Clearly that level of increase in a single year is not going to be acceptable to our customers.”

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BC- Ya think!….

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The Int. TM brings up that there has been no adjustments to the sewer rates sinc e2003 while operating expenses went up from approx. $800,000-$1.2 million…yet the revenue went down from $1.1 million to $900,000…She states Pompano Beach raised their rates to the Town over the last 7 years …accounting for 65% of our operating costs…She went on to the subject of  SRC A,B & C being subsidized by the Town for sewer bills ” a practice going on since these properties were annexed int Town.”…She added she has had a consultant doing research on this for the last 2 months and will bring back her findings “after we tied up some lose ends in the research and talked further with parties who have knowledge of the history of this issue.”

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BC- see previous posts…either the Town has been paying Pompano Beach what Fort Lauderdale pays them after receiving payment from SRC A,B & C since taking over the Town’s billing for sewer and water …or if the amount the Town is paying Pompano is over that amount …there’s a few “players” that need to answer alot of questions…former TAtty. Cheroff … former Mayor Oliver Parker along with former Town Managers Baldwin and Colon!…

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Ms. Hoffmann stated she does not know at this point why revenues have fallen off but will get the answers to that as well…The bottom line is getting revenue without upsetting the “customers”… The shortfall was apparently known prior to her appointment due to an appropriation of $142,084 from the $1,583,398 fund balance in the current year…a larger appropriation will be necessary ($162,000) if the budgeted revenues are not realized…further darkness comes with the warning of no rate increase raising that amount to $375,000 from the fund balance…They project a fund balance of $1.4 million at the end of this fiscal year that will diminish to $1.05 million if no rate increase effective beginning Oct. 2010… Ms. Hoffmann states “it is politically and financially prudent to regularly adjust water and sewer rates to assure that they offset costs, so that consumers experiment small incremental increases in their budgets that they can absorb rather than be hit with a big increase every five years or so. Unfortunately, that hasn’t occurred so the Commission is going to have to consider rate increases.”…Seeing that this has to be a surprise to the Commission ..due to being identified this week…she balance the Sewer Fund with a $375,000 appropriation from the fund balance for now…She reiterated strongly the need for some rate increase to be implemented…She also stated using the fund balance for this purpose is not a good idea … and she went on to the subject we all knew was coming …no capital plan to replace the Town’s aging sewer infrastructure…The cost will be expensive and if we go for a bond they are generally set up with long-term financing (20-30 years) and the debt service is paid by projected sewer charge revenues… therefor we need to build up our cash reserves in order to get a better bond rating…not spend them down… She finished by pointing out no engineering studies for the cost of replacing the sewers  and has included $50,000 for such a study…She increased the contingency fund from $15,000 to $50,000 for emergency/preventive repairs to the system..

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BC- the previous TM stated we needed about 5x that for a stormwater sewer study and this TM want $50,000 a sewer study …Hmmm…why such a difference in study costs…

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PARKING FUND/ PARKING SYSTEM

“The Parking Fund budgets for parking operations and revenues in the business district (downtown and Commercial Boulevard.) Revenues and expenditures related to parking lots and meters outside the business district are budgeted in the General Fund 545.” …Ms. Hoffman states they did not have time to consolidate the two sections for her recommended budget but do recommend all sparking activities be combined in the Parking Fund…offering a clearer picture… She states over the past several years the Parking Fund generated sufficient revenues to contribute to the General Fund (approx. $165,000) but projected a shortfall in the current year by $176,000 or about 32%…business -$90,000 parking fine -$76,000…they are investigating the large discrepancies with the year-to-year receipts…unless there is an error found and it was deposited in the General Fund  the Parking Fund will have to utilize 73% ($171,973 ) of its undesignated funds to cover the decline and still transfer funds into the General Fund..stay tuned…FY 11 they project the Parking Fund will not be able to contribute to the General Fund and will need to increase meter rates and come up with other parking strategies…they are currently working on a parking study and will include this in it…Expenditures will be a $35,000 capital outlay to improve the parking facilities and concentrate those funds on improvements that will result in higher utilization of the parking system scuh as multi-space meters and physical improvements to Bougainvilla lot…

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BC- again…contract out…look at what a contracted company can offer and if they can update meters…lot and fines…Rates for permits should go back to where they started in the previous Comm.before the election time lowering frenzy began for friends and votes..

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CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT FUND

“The Capital Improvement Fund budget has been substantially increased from $1,686,862 in the current fiscal year to a proposed $2,470,425 next fiscal year in order to start addressing the Town’s stormwater drainage problems” The transfer from the General Fund to the Capital Fund has decreased from $1,615,756 to $1,250,000 next year.” ..

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BC-on the next page (18) is the 5 year CIP to be presented Wed. night at Roundtable and the next MPSC …It includes the Master Plan update budgeted at $150,ooo in year 2 (2012) and the bathrooms in year 1 (2011)..backward in this writer’s opinion…along with Beach Dune Vision $269,00 yr 1 (2011) ..State requirement?…Marine Park $20,000 yr 1 (2011)…it was DOA with the grants…Beach renourishment $200,00 yr 3 (2013)…Bridge Repair Terra Mar  $155,00 yr 2 (2012)…Bus shelters $85,000 yr 1 (2011)…Parking System  Improvements $50,000 yr 1 (2011) – yr 5 (2015)…Decorative street lighting $100,000 yr 2 (2012) & yr 4 (2014)…Streetscape A1A Pine north $647,100 (yr 1). ..we pay up first and then get paid by state…tying up funds for what…trees and landscape…still against it…El Mar Construction $875,000 yr 2 (2012) ..I thought funds thus far came from Gen Fund and Oriana Funds intact…transfer done?…El Mar design $8,000 Yr 1 (2011)…MPlan 1st… Pine Ave. A1A to El Mar $29,000 Yr.1 (20011)& $101,000 Yr. 2 (2012)…ridiculous….Stormwater Master Plan projects $750,000 Yr 1 (2011)$750,00 Yr 2 (2012) $300,000 Yr 3 (2013) $300,000 Yr 4 (2014) $300,000 Yr 5 (2015)… Traffic improvements & calming $25,000 Yr 1 (2011)…Contingency $200,000 Yr. 1 (2011) $300,00 Yr 2-Yr 5 (2012-2015)…Depreciation/Gasb 34 $237,325 Yr 1 (2011) $249,191 Yr 2 (2012) $261,651 Yr 3 (20103) $ 274, 734 Yr 4 (2014) $288,470 Yr 5 (2015)

TOTALS…Yr 1-2011  $2,470,425/ Yr 2 -2012 $3,130,191/ Yr 3 -2013 $ 1,511,651/ Yr 4-2014 $1,424,734/ Yr 5-2015 $ 1,338,470

FUND BALANCES AND RESERVES

“I have mentioned throughout the budget message that we will be transferring funds from reserves and fund balance accounts into the budget nect year. Prudent financial management would suggest that these sources of fund should only be used for one-time expenditures and not relied upon for ongoing operations.” She reiterated the need use fund balance for sewer and parking and that they will need additional appropriations next year if no increases are approved…”In the interest of transparency” she provided a table (page 19) with information on the available reserve and fund balances as well as projects and what will be available at the end of the current /next fiscal year..Projected balances and reserves as of Sept. 30, 2010…

Actual 9/30/2009….Est. 9/30/10….Appropriated in FY 2010/11…Est. as of 9/30/11

General Fund

Emergency /Storm Reserve …$2,329,648/$2,329/$500,000/$2,329,648

Vehicle Replacement Reserve….$182,792/$194,042/ no amt/$319,728

Fire Assessment Balance ….$62,273/$149,639/ no amt./ $214,391

Capital Assets Replacement Bal …$1,650,742/ $1,805,725/ no amt/$1,968,458

Undesignated Fund Bal…..$2,189,349/ $2,289,349/ no amt/$2,289,349

Subtotal ….$6,414,804/$6,768,403/ $500,000/ $7,121,574

Capital Fund

Capital Assets Replacement Bal….$1,161,336/ $1,387,360/ no amt/$1,624,685

Undesignated Fund Bal….$1,804,897/$2,782,384/ $575,324/ $3,357,709

Subtotal ….$2,966, 233/ $4,169,744/ $575,325/ $4,982,394

LETF Fund

Undesignated Fund Bal…$139,768/$208,959/$11,500/ $197,459

Parking Fund

Cash $236,166/$64,193/ $64,193/no amt

Sewer Fund

Cash $1,583, 389/ $1,421,243/ $374,395/ $1,046,848

Explained at the bottom the table contains the budget workbook for the CIP …they plan to appropriate money from the undesignated fund balance in the Capital Fund next year in order to start funding stormwater drainage projects and utilize the rest of that balance in years two and three of the CIP to fund El Mar project and more drainage projects”..They also “anticipate that the Town will begin to draw down on the capital assets balance in the Capital Fund in the third,fourth and fifth years of the 5 year Capital Improvement Plan” …No specified amt. yet… analysis of depreciation needed to create a balance…same analysis needs to be made of the Capital Assets balance in the General Fund..”It may be that some of the capital outlay items we have budgeted for can legitimately be purchased with funding from the capital Assets balance but we will have to wait to allocate those funds until the analysis has been done”..

The Int. TM ended with a recap…increase the millage/increase the sewer rates /Between this year & next Parking Fund will have utilized entire fund balance of $236,166 and reduced contribution to Gen Fund..planned parking system study/ Capital Projects calls for multi-year commitment for drainage projects…

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BC- With almost $5.5 million in undesignated funds … why would we not use the monies as quickly as possible for drainage and sewer to keep the costs, which will be lower in year 1 vs. year 5, down…so we are not faced with a repeat of the north end sewers which ended up costing us in increased costs for waiting …. Again, as previously posted this writer believes we could have built a whole new Town Hall Complex that would have included a public safety complex and dealt with other town infrastructure rather than buying the crappy hotel we are going to spend money on to paint and frittering away monies for a now failed El Mar project… don’t want that to happen again…

The hope this writer has from these budget meetings and the new Commission/Boards/Administration is to put an end to any more “pet” projects…although 4 months out I have some doubts after seeing some on the MPSC concerning El Mar Drive and the push by a Commissioner for public bathrooms this year ….especially when the MPSC has members that have second thoughts after their last meeting…. No more “piecemealing” …. as promised in the campaign… It’s time to provide a full-fledged plan for the Town’s infrastructure and what sits on top of it…using these undesignated funds as stated above along with creative ways to cut down on the costs to the taxpayers stated above as well, in operating costs while retaining top notch Town Employees paid handsomely sans some perks for doing their jobs so well a decrease in Town employees will be the result ….Fees undoubtedly need to increase.and stay incremental (as suggested above) along with the savings of less full time paid staff..The costs of consultants appears to be lower than last year (consultants were always used…just done on the QT)….and I have no problem using them,if they too are cost effective in comparison to the status quo prior to April 26, 2010….but the millage should remain 3.999 ….. holding out for that one…

Link to Town website …full text online … http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/.

more to come….

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