Search and Categories

Here’s The Scoop … June 8, 2010 LBTS Budget Workshop Agenda …

June 7, 2010 by Barbara








a. Fire Assessment Fee Discussion

BC-BCbythesea excerpt June 2009…


The Town Manager went over the presentation that Burton and Assoc. made (previous posts)…the recommendations made…and her recommendation which was for keeping the same $130 annual fire assessment fee which would hold steady for both 2009-10 & 2010-11…”


Last year we had the above referenced presentation from Burton and Assoc. (prev. post) who presented scenarios for the former Comm. to consider… in lowering the fire assessment it would cost us for Burton to return this year…keeping it the same according to Burton and former TM Colon made that a savings…it passed 5-0 …and stayed at $130…

In the backup online the Town website the new Int. TM Hoffmann did some research into the past and was right on target with where we were prior $522 annually in the north end of Town and $92 in the south in 2003-04…In 2005-06 we went to a single rate and she explained the methodology “involving allocating Fire Department costs to residential and non-residential properties based on the percentage of total fire department calls that could be attributed to each category (87% to residential properties and 13% to non-residential properties). It was then determined to charge residential properties a fire assessment per dwelling unit with no distinction between single family and multi-family properties, and to create a tiered fee assessment structure for non-residential properties based on square footage categories.”..Ms. Hoffman then went on to 2007 and the time we no longer had the VFD contracting out with BSO and when we hired Burton and Assoc…It was a move pushed for by the Comms. McIntee /Silverstone who did not like the firm we were using along with their sights on a new majority in place in 2008 to bring back the VFD ( a look online the Town website has all the special fire meetings prior in 2006 as well as the Burton meetings)… Burton offered up a different methodology “a watch-standing benefit” which was not adopted…What is not shown is the “sliding-scale” Burton presented which would include residential based on property assessment…Comms. McIntee and Silverstone were keen on it…and a resident in SRClub was outraged at the idea and put together a petition to stop it…At the meeting when it was discussed again McIntee blamed the man’s ire on being duped by the By The Sea Future…This writer was sitting in front of the gentleman at the time and he was further outraged at the comments by McIntee stating he had spoken to Comms. McIntee and Silverstone himself…and the newspaper did not lead him astray!… The paper had a video at the time with McIntee/Silverstone from that meeting supporting the “sliding-scale”!…When the VFD were returned the fire assessment was cut in half to $130 but many felt it could have been even lower… As posted above last year 2009-10 it held steady to prevent having to go through a study this year… TM Hoffmann adds this ” Last summer, Burton and Associates was hired again to review the adequacy of the rate structure to produce sufficient revenues to fund the Town’s fire services over a five year period. They projected a fee increase would not be necessary until FY 2011/2012, however they also assumed that property assessments increase slightly in FY 2010/2011, which has not happened”…”We received the estimate of the fire assessment fee collections for the next fiscal year from the Property Appraiser based on the assumption that our fire assessment fees remain at the current levels. That projection is $1,062.369, but if you apply the typical assumption that collections will lag billings by 5% the Town’s projected revenue from fire assessment fees next year is $1,009, 250.”

She went on to say the VFD has turned in their proposed budget with the 4% increase (the VFD is the only side that could forgo it- the Town is contractually bound to provide the increase) ..”they are proposing to reduce their operating budget, but allocate a substantial sum into the fire truck replacement reserve.”.. She states that even with the 4% increase the fire assessment fees would be sufficient to cover the costs of fire suppression services next year… She also states we need to look at their apparatus and assess the condition as well as make a schedule to replace …This was why former Battalion Chief Pointu wanted the original budget to be higher …to have such a scheduled program over a period of years…unfortunately he resigned due to former member -Dep Chief McIntee (prev. posts) and  then McIntee went on a spending spree with purchasing one apparatus after another …The former TM began her slanted and limited “oversight” of the VFD in 2008 declaring the Town should own all public safety apparatus which would remain with the Town after any change of providers…..Colon quickly became mute on her assertions after McIntee continued to…buy… The last such try for the Town to buy the ladder truck which McIntee spearheaded and was sprung on the town was taken off the agenda after it was posted on this site …put on and taken off again…after the TM made it clear we were not buying it …not even at the proposed reduced price the VFD was ready to offer!…(prev. posts)…

In the 2nd Qtr. VFD Income/Expense Report the VFD “Trans. To Equip Fund $31, 809.01″…We were told by the former TM there was money in another account the Town has also for fire apparatus and fire inspection funds also go toward equipment this report the Town received $3,991.25 from the inspections (50%)… Also contained in the 2nd Qtr. was the “incentives” paid out..Fire Call Incentive  $31,250.00/ Medical Call Incentive $ 22,510.00/ Drill Incentive  $ 8,480.00/Beach patrol Incentive $1,412.50/ Salary Office Staff $22,599.96 …So how exactly will the VFD reduce their operating costs?… And again, how is it possible that with only 60 members the VFD was unable to make payroll in April …which was the word within the dept.?… Also, again this year why is it the Town pays approx. $15,000 to audit the VFD pension funds?…

b. Millage Discussion

BCbythesea 2009 June post excerpts…..

“The Manager said the assessed property values went down almost 9%.”… “The Manager informed and was unfortunately fully backed by the Commission to take the all too familiar tact of keeping the higher millage of 4.795…”because it can always be lowered”…but cannot be raised…But this writer would have liked to have seen a “maverick” in the bunch call for a 3.990…and then go for even lowered…cutting back on the bloated emergency fund …and the unencumbered $…among other funds not fully divulged…”


BC- of note in a later 2009 workshop then- Comm. Dodd did try for a lower millage …and received no traction….

BC- Int. Town Manager Hoffmann provided the Broward County Property Appraiser’s estimate of the 2010 taxable value of property in LBTS…(backup Town website)…She stated the official confirmation will be on July 1st and there could be “minor changes”….She added the estimates allow us the ability to project revenues as they develop the 2010-11 budget…She went on to explain “the taxable value is the value of a parcel after all the exemptions the property owner is entitled to are taken off the assessed value of the property….It sums up the exemptions allotted to those with primary residences who receive homestead (props. $75,000 and over- they receive $50,000) and senior citizens who are eligible for an additional $25,000 (if income does not exceed $25,780) …certified-disabled veterans have a $5,000 exemption…The total taxable value in LBTS that was on tax roll last year declined from $1,911.499,581 on Jan 1, 2009 to $1,751,217,601 on Jan. 1, 2010, an 8.4% decline…Ms. Hoffmann added new construction valued at $18,974,047 was added on the tax roll (1/1/10) that increased the Town’s total value $1,770,191,648. making the decrease 7.4%… She included that the decrease would mean the millage rate would need to be increased above the 3.999 in order to generate the same amount of property tax income…Smartly she added people do not understand the millage rate “is only half of the equation in determining how much a property owner will pay in taxes. The millage rate reflects the number of dollars the Town collects for every $1,000 of taxable value of each property. If the total taxable value in Town goes up one year to the next, the millage rate would go down to generate the same income. But when taxable value goes down, the millage rate has to go up to produce the same income.”…She followed up with the Property Appraiser’s estimate 4.365 to produce that income…

Int. TM Hoffmann receives “high fives” from this writer in her ending paragraphs…First she compares “apples to apples” stating “the roll back rate calculation ignores the value of new construction added to the tax roll.” … LBTS will receive only $76,000-$83,000 in new tax revenue…and she ends with this…..

“I believe it is too early in the budget preparation process to make any determinations on what the millage rate should be. We know we are facing increases in public safety budgets, and that we have a significant number of capital projects that the Town would like to see implemented, but I also need to give you a clear picture of the reserves and the undesignated fund balances before we can reach any conclusion about next year’s millage rate.”….Hmmm…see above June 2009 post…finally a look at the bloat that is still in the bank…

For those on the losing side last March…ready to pounce on any increase in millage…not so fast…let’s wait until after we look at the reserves and unencumbered funds…Let’s also look at changing the size and scope of Town employees …Time to contract out for Code/Building/Parking/ all landscaping and perhaps even Finance … as other municipalities are now doing to save the taxpayers from those bloated COLA increases to employees many who are already being overpaid and overcompensated beyond most of those who are stuck providing it all to them annually…

One last note…former Comm. Silverstone on the campaign trail and on the dais promised voters a 3.0 millage if he won …Hmmmm….

c. BSO Budget

BC- In a previous post I wrote the BSO was asking for $400,000..the sources were reliable…In the backup provided the TM (with a 29 pg report from ICMA Consulting Services) states an increase of $137,408 (4.3%) below the Town’s contract that allows BSO 5.3% increases for health ins. premiums, workman’s comp. premiums, pension contributions as well as 5% in all other costs between fiscal years…the total for 2010-11 $3,158,891… It is very preliminary due to the County not being in the mix yet… Readers will remember from Sentinel articles this year and last the County wants the contracted cities to cover all BSO costs and not for the taxpayers outside of that city to be subsidizing them…We were told that former Sheriff Jenne “low balled” and others are indeed subsidizing LBTS…The TM states that staff would like feedback from the Commission and direction on whether the Comm. is satisfied with the service they are receiving from BSO… The pie chart used in 2009-10 showed public safety at 39.84% of the General Fund Expenditures… making it the largest use of General Funds…what needs to be explained…included in the “Public Safety” header is …the following departments (pg. 34 2009-10 budget book) Development Services/ Emergency Medical Services-Fire Rescue (AMR-VFD) /Police (BSO)…so, it is not BSO alone.. In the backup report  was the BSO 2006-07 actual expenses for LBTS of $3,094,913 /budgeted revenue $2,606,231/ BSO actual revenue $2,606,228/ Variance to BSO (488,686)..2007-08 BSO actual expenses for LBTS $3,301,711/ BSO budgeted revenue $2,740,830/ BSO actual revenue $2,526,519/ Variance to BSO $ (775,192)…2008-09 BSO actual expense for LBTS $3,365,089/ BSO budgeted revenue $2,883,430/ BSO actual revenue $ 2,822,331/ Variance to BSO $ (542,758)..This leaves no doubt we could be on the hook for more…The recommendations are to develop a “menu of services” to choose from…the benefits cited “meeting the unique needs of each city/ transparency in costs/ refining services…also to do “develop program inventory and program costs to supplement menu of services”…with examples such as choices of services offered on a “24-hour, 7-days a week basis”  “base- level of service, and  discretionary levels of service beyond the base”….The state the BSO “has a good start on an inventory of programs ” in Oakland Park ..It covers program costs/direct costs on a program basis and determining indirect costs on a program basis…The above stated “variances” are included as well to resolve them…and of course the planning for pensions…Chief Llerena intends to keep the same staffing numbers and staffing configurations next year… The Chief needs to let the Commission and the taxpayers know just how much they have done in recent months with a slew of big busts and ongoing investigations … because as far as this taxpayer is concerned public safety is #1 …and again the costs to provide us the best can be covered with thinking outside the box in other areas of bloat in the Town’s staffing…


Town website …full Budget Workshop backup…


BC- I sent the following e-mail request to the Int. TM to try and get full transparency on this year’s budget process…

Budget Backup online
Sunday, June 6, 2010 9:40 PM
“Barbara Cole”
[email protected]
[email protected], [email protected]
Dear Town Manager Hoffmann:
I am requesting that PIO D’Oliveira retain all backup of all budget workshops throughout the process online.
I am also requesting he adds any updates or changes while keeping the version prior available.
I would very much appreciate if he could include the “justification” sheets found in the budget book for Commissioners online as well. They were not put on last year despite a request I made.
I put them on my second site ( to compensate for many taxpayers who were quite interested in them.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Barbara Cole

more to come….

Post Division