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Here’s The Scoop .. September 27, 2010 Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Final Budget Hearing FY 2010/2011 … The End Of The “Trojan Horse” Era In Lauderdale-By-The-Sea …

TROJAN HORSES & THE GFOA DISTINGUISHED BUDGET PRESENTATION AWARDS ….IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THAT MATTERS …

TROJAN HORSE DEFINITION: “Metaphorically a “Trojan Horse” has come to mean any trick or strategem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space.”

Dear Readers …… The FY2009/2010 Budget included once again on the page before the July 14, 2009 letter to the Commission from former Town Manager Esther Colon a photocopy of the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget presentation Award …It is touted still by the small smattering of Colon-istas left in town as a testament to her finance acumen…( perhaps this came up at Sunday night’s CIC meeting?)… As previously posted and below the large GFOA emblem …”In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communication device.” …Also, as previously posted many other towns have received this award year after year…for meeting the GFOA criteria… Those awards do not cover what comprises the Town/City budget …So, when so many of us stated something was seriously wrong in Town Hall and especially with the Town’s  funds… we were correct…

Commissioner Clottey recently said “Ladies and Gentlemen you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig” when addressing the millage rate at the Sept. 13, 2010 budget workshop …(prev. post)… In this writer’s opinion it goes well beyond that  …The Colon Administration and their Commission pals fit the above stated metaphorical definition of “Trojan Horse” …. We, the taxpayers were told we were getting a gift when the Commission made the former Finance Director the Town Manager in 2007 …. We were told we were getting a gift in 2008 with the CIC majority winning the election and sitting on the dais…and we were told over and over again in 2009 by those who brought us these gifts and now had much to lose if we did not keep them…

That big old horse was toppled in 2010…thanks to 65% of the LBTS voters who elected a new majority on the dais who did as they promised when campaigning when they quickly terminated Colon and Olinzock and were lucky enough to have perfect timing happen on their watch with a highly regarded..highly qualified replacement for Town Manager named Connie Hoffmann who got down to work the minute she was appointed Interim Town Manager in April 2010 ….Once inside Town Hall she and her Interim Asst. Town Manager Bud Bentley along with her Acting Finance Director Doug Haag uncovered so much…with more coming to light everyday…(prev. posts)………

THE AGENDA….

……………..

TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA

TOWN COMMISSION

SPECIAL PUBLIC HEARING

MONDAY, SEPT. 27, 2010
AT 6 PM IN JARVIS HALL

AGENDA BACKUP DOCUMENTS

1. CALL TO ORDER, MAYOR ROSEANN MINNET

2. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

4. COMMISSIONER COMMENTS

5. RESOLUTIONS -PUBLIC HEARINGS

a. RESOLUTION 2010-29 – Adopting Final Millage: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, ADOPTING THE FINAL AD VALOREM TAX MILEAGE RATE AT 3.9990 MILS PER THOUSAND DOLLARS OF TAXABLE ASSESSED VALUE, WHICH IS 8.18% BELOW THE ROLLED BACK RATE COMPUTED PURSUANT TO STATE LAW, FOR THE 2010 TAX YEAR; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE (Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffmann).

BC- Acting Finance Director Doug Haag was asked for a breakdown of the taxes paid by business and residents …He sent the Commission the following e-mail…

“From: Finance Director
Sent: Thu 9/23/2010 3:17 PM
To: Roseann Minnet; Chris Vincent; Stuart Dodd; Birute Ann Clottey; Scot Sasser
Cc: Connie Hoffmann; Bud Bentley
Subject: Helpful Information re: Tax Distribution
Following is some information that you might find helpful. It’s a breakdown of taxable values and tax revenue by property use code. Please feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.

Classification /Taxable Value /Millage/ Tax Revenues /%
Residential 1,591,539,940/ 3.999/ 6,364,568 /90%
Commercial 170,255,880/ 3.999/ 680,853/ 10%
Industrial 466,380/ 3.999 /1,865 / 0%
Miscellaneous 4,740/ 3.999 /19/ 0%
Total Real Property -Taxable Value 1,762,266,940/ Tax Revenues 7,047,305
Personal Property 10,867,154/ 3.999/ 43,458 / 1%
Total Taxable Value 1,773,134,094/ Tax Revenues 7,090,763

Doug Haag
Acting Finance Director
Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
4501 Ocean Drive
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL 33308”

………..

BC-The millage should be voted on to retain the 3.999…. as desired by Vice Mayor Dodd,Commissioner Sasser and Commissioner Clottey… The question will be if Commissioner Vincent and the Mayor will join them in voting to retain the rate….

b. RESOLUTION 2010-30 – Adopting the Final Budget: A RESOLUTION OF THE TOWN COMMISSION OF THE TOWN OF LAUDERDALE-BY-THE-SEA, FLORIDA, ADOPTING A FINAL TOWN BUDGET FOR THE 2010/2011 FISCAL YEAR; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE (Interim Town Manager Connie Hoffmann).

BC- Below you will find an overview along with some points of interest to this writer and commentary … First, let me get out of the way that I was looking forward to revised justification sheets…The justification sheets allow us to see what each dept. asks for and receives to run in the fiscal year… It was where this writer could see in the past what seemed out of whack and would be funds available for the Administration to use as they desired in the last 3 months of the fiscal year as unencumbered funds…(Budgets are to 95%)… I am hopeful the revision will be forthcoming ….and archived online …I have made a PRR for the revised version…

In an opening statement found in the backup on the Town’s website …(link below) the Int. TM states the following …General Fund proposed rate is $10,132,502 and reflects the current millage rate 3.9990..A $1,737,408 or, 15% less than last year’s adopted budget of $11,869,910…Ms. Hoffmann states “The final budget reflects the changes proposed at the last meeting plus some additional changes to correctly allocate group insurance costs, other insurance (auto, property, liability and workers compensation) and adjustments upward and downward in various accounts based on current year income and expenses.” …She went on to state “I had mentioned to the Commission in the budget message in July that I wanted to analyze and correct salary inequities that exist among Town staff and I have provided that in various department’s salary accounts. I was able to address those issues without any impact on the tax rate.”

BC- The goal was for the Int. TM to do what was needed as long as the bottom line did grow in the process… This writer has a 2006/2007 LBTS pay grade that was distributed but no updated paperwork and I have made a PRR for the 2010 version and the salary increases for employees as mentioned above… The reference to proposed changes is an interesting one that I hope was found in one-on-one meetings with the Commission due to the Comm. not returning to the CIP direction to the TM at the last Roundtable …(prev. post)…

The VFD Budget/ FIRE FUND… (the Fire Fund is a new fund)…The TM with the new leadership of the VFD came to terms on lowering its operating budget to $725,580.04 and taking the additional funds of $187,314.28 to be placed in a fire apparatus/equipment reserve held by the Town… The VFD says it needs to replace one of the ATVs (purchased in 2008) for $14,000 and it will be undercoated…Readers may remember when this came up before and VM Dodd inquired the cost difference to undercoat…the warranty…and the difference in the life of the ATV…Fort Lauderdale had purchased theirs with the undercoating…No reply was received on doing that comparison and the results as far as we are aware of……Of course taxpayers also want to know how an ATV not used 7 days a week is a loss in 2+ years time…The TM states she met with VFD officials to draft amendments to the contract including budget , apparatus reserves, purchases from that reserve and other issues…The TAtty. will review the language and the VFD membership will need to vote on it…

TM Hoffmann states under the CIP “We  have incorporated the CIP plan we presented to you last week into the final budget with a few minor changes. Some of the design money for El Mar and A1A projects have already been expended in the current year, so we reduced the budget for those projects by those amounts. And we did not take out the projected $100,000 saving from the A1A project that will result from removing the Sea Ranch Lakes portion, because the original budget never had any funds in for project management and it is safer to see how the bids come in on the project before reducing the budget for the project.”

BC- Previously posted was the reason for the SRLakes removal…it’s their property and they did not want the A1A improvements on the west side in front of their subdivision …and would not pay for any improvements …The Comm. directed the Town to not do that portion..and a savings was to be $103,000 gross …from the project…Now the Administration has found yet another gap in the A1A project with no funds for project management…What does that mean?… Who benefits from “project management” …to the tune of up to $100,000…. Please don’t say PBS&J/ O’Campo/ Chen & Assoc. or Walter Keller …and Please, please …don’t say “Change orders”…GULP!….

Summary…”The total Town budget is $15,187,366 as compared to last years budget of $15,502,557, a decrease of $315,191 or, 2%.

Fund/ FY 2009-20010/FY 2010-2011/ Increase (Decrease)

General /$11,869,910/$10,132,502/ ($1,737,408)

Police/ 151,821/37,000/(114,821)

Sewer 1,224,399/1,370,748/146,349

Fire/ o/1,058,748/146,349

Capital Project/ 1,686,862/1,814,725/127,863

Parking/ 569,565/774,140/204,575

Total/ $15,502,557/ %15,187,366/ ($ 315,191)

Attached were the line by line item for all funds… Excerpts below..full backup on Town website…link below…

VFD Budget Proposal…The leadership positions… 1P/T Admin Chief @ 1,742 per mo. or  per year 20,904.00/1 position yearly Chief Asst. 34,320.00/Fire Admin. yrly pay 36,400/ Incentive pay for Tech hrs. a total yrly $66,330.00/Truck repair total yrly $45,000/ full time fire inspector yrly 54,031.75…Office/Station was “projected per town manager”…yrly total 54,300.00 (the town is now doing the fire inspection billing)…

BC- no mention of the new Chief’s positions…Is he the VFD Chief/ Fire Marshall…or VFD Chief/ Fire Inspector..or all three?…And receiving what salary?.. From looking at the past VFD income/expense reports done quarterly…much of what is MIA is due to the change in leadership as well as oversight from the new Int. TM …the perks that were so apparent are gone and should remain so …..The oversight of the VFD must be ongoing with this new Administration…keep holding them accountable to the taxpayers…

In the Gen Fund Revenues … there is an 8.41% decrease in the ad valorem property taxes…FPL utility tax is up 6.78% /gas utility is down 1.54%/water is up 12.42% (Readers will remember the Town is looking into the water situation)…total utility revenue increase 8.14%… Franchise Taxes …FPL -4.67%/Waste -39.76%/Gas -24.68%/Towing 133.73% Total franchise tax revenues -10.36%… Licenses and permits Occ. licenses 23.58%/building permits -7.70%/ Fire Review Fees -33.86%/ zoning and signs 0% change Total 0.09%…Intergovernmental …BCC-Senior Center Grant 20..33%/BCC-Transportation Grant (Hopper) 0.55%…Charges for services …Tennis -shuffle key 13.73%…Answer to the Tennis question…revenue expected $7,000 up from 6,155 …Is that enough to spend $80,000 on new lights?…For Gen Fund Expenditures…The Commission salaries remain the same…the insurance is 12,486 …an increase of 3.71%…As far as we know only Comm. Clottey takes ins…Mayor Minnet gets hers through the Town but pays it all..the other Comm. do not take it and VM Dodd gets his from Hillsboro….Also there is no cell phone under Comm. expenditures…Did Comm. Clottey forgo hers and join the other Comms. who do not take cellphone allowance?…The Chamber is showing a 8.00% increase…and the final decision needs to be made on the funding and/or the advertising…The Chamber submitted an advertising report to the Town/Commission .. fleshing out its monthly payouts to Google/Facebook/Orbitz-Expedia/Trip Advisor/per month in Europe/Canada/USA…to total the 11,500 they are asking for…Will it fly?… Not sure…This writer believes the Town needs to appoint a committee on business development and have a member from the Chamber at the table…Town Atty….costs have decreased a total of 15.43%… BJHarris is down 60.00%…and gone is the prev. “other-issues” category…What is not yet known is any contractual agreement to be retained at a rate rather than hourly…We were told the TAtty. received a 5% increase last year…HUH?…..Regular salaries have increased by $110,000 due to the Asst. TM being moved into this department and other salary changes stated above… Increases in group ins. 104.36% retirement 298.49%/unemployment compensation 26.92% need to be explained as well…on Mon. evening…(on the agenda for Mon. night Comm. Mtg.) … This writer still thinks it is time for government workers to pay more into health insurance..just like the rest of us…

Development services had a drop in its salaries of 7.72%…as well as Group ins.-29.66%…Looks like a portion of Legal “issues -other” popped up in this department in a $400 hundred dollar increase…The salaries in Public Works and Community Standard (still hate that “catch-all dept.”)….went down as changes were made in relocating positions we presume…same goes for the ins./retirement with costs both increased and decreased….LETF still needs to be discussed…concerning what if any funds will be returned to the BSO…(prev. posts)…Sewer System Revenues ….Appropriated Fund Bal. 416,448/sewer fees 950,000…Expenditures total sanitary 1,320,748 a 10.12% increase …add in emerg. sewer replacement total 1,370,748…Fire Dept…discussed above total 1,058.251…The sewers still need to be addressed big time… and will be no doubt..it’s a hot-button topic in both sides of town…

Cap Projects… Revenues Approp. Fund Bal.53,325/from El Mar Reserve 83,000/A1A Enhancement Grant 505,400/ Misc. Revs 24,000 …Interfund transfers from Gen Fund 1,150,000 Total Revs. 1,814,725…Expenditures…Gen Dept. -Master Plan 50,000/depreciation 237,325/Neighborhood Imp 30,000A1A Streetscape 684,900/Parking System Imp. 25,000/Flamingo Ave  design-permis 36,000 & cap outlay imp. 275,000/Downtown Core design/permit 106,000…no cap outlay imp….BC- Comm. needs to reconsider this one…should be a 2-step process…take care of Lake Colon ASAP!… West Tradewinds design/permit 37,500/cap outlay imp. 215,000 …Harbor Dr. design/permit 26,000 no cap outlay imp/Terra Mar Dr. cap outlay imp 25,000…traffic imp. & calming 15,000….Fish-Reef Habitat cap outlay 27,000….El Mar Streetscape design/permits 25,000 ….The CIP projects need some attention…and as far as this writer is concerned…I do not want the status quo with the contractors we have…O’Campo/Chen etc… RFPs need to go out…Same goes for consultants …we need to be careful on overuse…and going in the wrong direction…

Parking Fund Revenues…572,951 an increase of 35.56%/ fines 165,000 or 32.85% increase….Expenditures…607,066 or 50.29% increase for total parking operations…Funds going into Gen Fund 167,075… Parking is on the Tues. night agenda (Comm. Sasser) to go to P & Z…I believe given the correct direction from the dais…the P & Z could go through the code…work with the businesses and come up with new codes…perhaps even no codes for required number of spaces to open a business in this town…

Lastly… this is the Final Budget meeting…it’s been delayed an hour to 6 pm…after previous years when constituents complained people that worked could not participate when it was held at 5:01 pm…Anyone who does not come and speak up  …or has not contacted a Commissioner(s) with their input or concerns ….in this writer’s opinion….has no right to bitch after all is said and done and the votes are taken.. Simple as that… This Commission/Administration has been the most transparent (sans the revised justification sheets) I have witnessed since I started watching the budgets six  years ago ….with later meeting times….more backup archived online…updates on the budget at workshops and Commission meetings …and always leaving the door in Town Hall open for Commissioners and taxpayers alike to ask for and receive any and all information they require…

Yep, in 2010 there is no “Trojan Horse” inside the LBTS Town limits…

6 pm meeting will be open to the public…public comment is allowed ….Live on Comcast channel 78/ live-stream on Town website … http://lbts.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=2 … and then archived …

Link to backup for all budgets as well…. http://www.lauderdalebythesea-fl.gov/

more to come…

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