Marco Island City Council Budget Sub-Committee: Recommendations finalized to go before entire City Council

— Next stop, City Council. The Marco Island City Council Budget Sub-Committee has put together a budget proposal for the entire council to consider, starting at their meeting on Monday.

At the close of Wednesday’s Budget Sub-Committee meeting, chairman Larry Magel thanked those who had participated in the lengthy process.

“I want to thank you guys for all the work,” said Magel.

“It’s not over yet,” cautioned Councilman Bill Trotter, who along with Councilman Wayne Waldack makes up the balance of the committee.

“Yeah, we still have the shouting,” added City Manager Jim Riviere. Not only will the sub-committee’s work be thoroughly rehashed by the full council before a budget is finalized, the budget sub-committee is going to meet at least once more, continuing to work on the utilities portion of the budget. With Magel leaving town, the group tentatively set up a meeting for the week of Aug. 15, possibly a joint meeting with the city’s Utilities Advisory Board.

Much of Wednesday’s session was devoted to reviewing all of the items covered during the prior sessions, including consolidated budget summary sheets, reserves analysis, general fund revenue and expenses, and the maximum millage rate to be assessed. Two of the final items to be covered were the summary of general fund recommendations, and the agenda for Monday’s City Council meeting.

With numbers still being considered, adjusted, reallocated, and crunched, it appeared the city budget recommendation from the committee for Fiscal Year 2012 would be $21,091,065, up from just under $19,400,000 in FY 2011. But there are any number of ways to look at the numbers: actual, projected, budget to budget, with or without reserves, water and sewer, and debt service.

“If you look at our gross budget, we’re going up 3.81 percent budget to budget,” said Magel. Contingency funds or reserves, said budget analyst Robert Lange, were not included, because the city government did not intend to spend them, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Trotter pointed out that managers always want to build in contingency funds.

“We challenged Jeff Poteet on overtime, and he said we could cut that 50 percent,” he noted. “Nothing against management style, but you always want to put a cushion in. Let staff figure out how to prioritize it. For me to say if someone needs a cell phone is crazy.”

Of course, for hours and weeks of meetings, the committee had been discussing just these details, including shrubbery, car washes, and sidewalks in addition to cell phones and police radios.

Waldack pointed out there were inevitable increases in some costs, such as fuel, and sometimes, paying more overtime actually results in a saving of money.

“Is OT less expensive than hiring someone else full time?” he asked.

“I thoroughly endorse your principle,” said Riviere. “I don’t live based on millage; it means nothing to me. It’s dollars. As Councilor Waldack said, we have a few new things.”

“You’re not concerned about the millage rate. I am,” said Magel. “Every (government) entity I’ve heard of is keeping the millage rate the same. That’s the policy discussion of council, compared to all the things we’re kicking around here.”

Waldack made a comment that user fees and assessments could keep all the city’s costs from being borne by ad valorem taxpayers, and when the committee took a break shortly thereafter, Marco Island Taxpayers Association president Fay Biles, in the front row of spectator seats, let him have it.

“Wayne, are you ever going to get off assessments?” she demanded. “Don’t you hear what the people are saying? They don’t want assessments.”

When the question was raised if homeowners’ property taxes would go up, down, or stay flat, the men sitting around the table in the conference room agreed there were too many variables to be able to make an overall determination. Along with the millage rate, assessed values are changing, mostly downward, and each property has a unique status regarding Save Our Homes and homestead exemptions.

Riviere said staff would have the budget posted on the city website by Thursday, in as final a form as possible, to give the council the weekend to look it over before they begin their deliberations. Like a game of Monopoly, getting around to the end brings you back to the beginning.

© 2011 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 8

MarcoCitizen writes:

This is an outrage. They want to spend MORE.

marco97 writes:

It is unbelievable that the City wants to spend more next year then last year. Home values are still falling and many people on this Island have had to make cuts to get by. The City is basically saying it's okay for you to make sacrifices so you can continue to live he but we don't have to, we can just tax you more.

deltarome writes:

I thought Marco Island was the home of political conservatives??
Then why do we keep taxing and spending MORE each year??

ajm3s writes:

If I read this article properly, the budget is going up while the committee made claim they "challenged" the city directors.

Perhaps the "challenge" is to the citizens to demand a pared down budget, since the Budget sub-committee is offering self-congratulatory accolades.

Cost cutting? May I offer my applause by simply saying, what is the sound of one hand clapping?

NobodysFool57 writes:

Notice how islandeye "waldi" and KlabZili posted comments within 16 minutes of each other, at 3 o'clock in the morning! Apparently, the internet troll didn't take the time stamps into consideration. Yer busted!

seasonala writes:

This budget subcommittee must be kidding if they are recommending an increase in budget. An increase equals terrible results on their part. The time has come for the citizens of Marco to unite against the current leadership. Each council member who votes for an increase in budget should be encouraged to step down since clearly they are not representing the citizens. VOTE THEM OUT.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Look what COWARDS we elect!
They cant even do their own dirty work, but have to hide behind a committee.
These worms make me sick.

NobodysFool57 writes:

Look at the Sub-Committee make-up. Bill Trotter can't run for re-election next year due to term limits. Wayne Waldack can only parrot what's whispered in his ear or plaigerize what he read. Larry Magel doesn't have to worry about re-election for 3 years. What did you expect?

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