Public has opportunity for input

on city's 2011-2012 budget

Final Public Hearing set for Thursday, September 22

As the City of St. Augustine nears the conclusion of it's annual budget process, every opportunity is made to inform and invite the public into this important activity. Below are several resources that may be helpful for those seeking information on the 2011-2012 budget.

As is the process each year, the commission first met in workshop sessions and then held the first of two required public hearings. The workshop was on August 24 and 25 and the initial public hearing on September 8. Thursday's public hearing is the final step before adopting the budget. The meeting starts at 5:05pm in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King Street,

  • To see the agenda for Thursday's public hearing, click here.
  • To view the presentation made by staff during the budget workshop, click here.
  • To view the summary of the proposed budget, click here.

The city’s 2011-2012 budget, which goes into effect on October 1, includes nine separate funds: the General Fund, the Utility Fund, the Stormwater Fund, the Solid Waste Fund, the Municipal Marina Fund, the Heritage Tourism Fund, the Visitor Information Center Fund, the 450th Commemoration Fund and the Community Redevelopment Agency Fund. The General Fund and the Community Redevelopment Agency Fund are supported by ad valorem taxes. The others are enterprise funds, meaning they are funded through service fees and must be financially self-supporting.

Highlights of the 2011-2012 budget are:

  • No millage increase, results in a $720,264 reduction in ad valorem taxes;
  • Four positions eliminated, results in a $222,197 savings;
  • Three positions filled with lower paid employees due to VSIP program;
  • Deferred maintenance on structures results in a $181,000 savings;
  • Workers Compensation reduced by $98,000;
  • Negotiated no increase in medical insurance;
  • Eliminated $40,000 professional services; and
  • Eliminated The St. Augustine Report, results in a $15,500 savings.

 

 

Heritage Tourism restructured

One fund which has been substantially restructured is the Heritage Tourism Fund. With a pledge that "Authenticity is non-negotiable," the restructuring includes:

  • Reduction of staff;
  • Continue Taberna and Spanish Quarter gift shop operations;
  • Interim Spanish Quarter plan that focuses on school groups;
  • Redesign entire business model of the Spanish Quarter.

In making the presentation to the Commission, staff outlines four major strategic initiatives for 2011-2012:

  • Debt service payment and building of reserves;
  • Funding sea wall replacement;
  • Visitors Information Center remodel to create exhibition space;
  • Increasing our commitment to the 450th Commemoration and Heritage Tourism.

 

Budget includes variety of projects funded with utility bond

The workshop also included a discussion of the many and varied projects included in the budget to be funded through the $18 million bond issue the Commission approved in March (Note: total funds available after financing costs is $15.4 million). Projects are listed by the individual fund under which they originate.

General Fund

  • Riberia Street peninsula bank stabilization - $800,000
  • Wayfinding signage for downtown - $100,000
  • Street resurfacing/sidewalk repairs - $250,000
  • Island fire station and other miscellaneous - $40,000

Storm water Fund

  • Riberia Street phase 1 - $1,800,875
  • Riberia Street phase 2 - $1,888,000

Marina Fund

  • Breakwater construction - $2,500,000

Utility Fund

  • San Sebastian river force main - $625,000
  • Volusia/Pearl Street upgrades - $510,000
  • King Street drainage phase II - $340,000
  • Riberia Street phase 1 - $1,099,125
  • Riberia Street phase 2 - $1,922,000
  • Utility projects, Priority A List
    • Masters/Palmer water main replacement - $425,000
    • Lincolnville water main replacement (Washington, Duero, Oneida) - $480,000
    • Water main upgrades in various locations (Clark, Daniels, N. Park) - $200,000
    • North City water main replacement (Water St, Joiner, Loring, Hope, Rhode) - $465,000
    • Lighthouse area water main replacement (Lighthouse Ave., Red Cox Rd, Magnolia Dr.) - $350,000
    • Infiltration and inflow elimination/sewer rehab - $355,000
    • Pump stations (2) replacement - $550,000
    • Reverse osmosis concentrate disposal - $500,000
    • Treatment plant tank coatings - $200,000

 

New funding plan proposed

And while these are big initiatives, staff proposed a funding plan expected to raise over $1 million each year simply by making the Historic Downtown Parking Facility a pay-on-entry system, raising the daily rate from $7 to $10. Additionally, in support of those area residents that park at the facility with the ParkNow Card, parking will be $1-per-day.

The estimated $1,050,000 annual revenue from the funding plan will be committed to certain uses for varying periods of time:

  • $450,000 will be applied to the annual debt service of Historic Downtown Parking Facility (current Community Redevelopment Agency Fund shortfall);
  • $207,000 for 10 years (City's match for a federal grant) for annual payment for sea wall restoration;
  • $65,000 for three years for the Visitor Information Center remodeling project; and
  • $328,000 for four years for 450th Commemoration development and Heritage Tourism.

For more information on the 2011-2012 budget and the process for its approval, contact the City’s Department of Finance, Budget and Management at 904.825.1030.

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