City Backs Away from Some Proposed Cuts
A cache of money realized from changes since the budget for the upcoming fiscal year was proposed could help lessen the pain of reductions.
New Port Richey city officials found a cache of money that could allow them to at least keep the lap pool at the New Port Richey Recreation Center open year-round to swimmers and curb some other budget cuts.
At a work session on Thursday, city council members directed staff to use the found money in the proposed fiscal year 2013 budget to keep the center's lap pool open year-round. The pool is used by youth for swim practice and meets and also by adults.
City leaders also gave directon to fund subsidies of city services for popular special events in the proposed budget and to also steer funds the city‘s residential debris pickup and mulching service.
City Finance Director Doug Haag did some number crunching to present a list of changes made to the city’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget over the course of recent months, and his findings uncovered a cache of $261,131 in available revenue.
This pot of cash formed due to projected revenues increasing by $182,772 since the 2013 budget was first proposed. Expenditures fell by $78,599.
The projected revenue increases come from higher estimates from the state of electric franchise fee revenue, the impact of the proposed higher millage rate for next year and an $80,000 Community Development Block Grant given to the city to fund a second code enforcement officer position. There are ither sources that accounted for the increasd revenues, too.
City Councilman Bill Phillips, who has been very vocal about asking for a log of changes to the proposed budget, did some number crunching of his own and says his numbers show the cache of funds to be higher.
Council members also discussed the possibility of using money to prevent some of the layoffs the city proposed.
This is what the proposed budget budget looks like right now and a summary of the changes city council members weighed in on. There’s still a month and a half before the council must take a final vote on the 2013 spending plan.
- Pool Issues
The found money allowed the city to back away from a proposal to shorten the swimming season at the recreation center. Tampa Bay Aquatics swimmers and adults who use the pool have been expressing concern about the changes that could be made to the pool season.
City leaders gave staff the green light to use $8,000 of that found money to keep the lap pool heated in the winter months, thus keeping it available for use all year.
Another $20,000 will go toward keeping all pools at the center open seven months out of the year. None of the $28,000 will pay for staff.
Council members indicated they were willing to direct some of the found money to fund the coach’s position and a janitor position. The team might need to pay increased fees.
Of concern to TBay is the prospect that the coach job could be reduced to part-time, which they say would result in their coach quitting.
Discussions are continuing.
- Yard Debris
City Council members authorized staff to use $60,000 to fund a slimmed -down version of the city’s yard debris pickup service, which was on the chopping block. City Public Works Director Sherman Applegate said this would alow for his department to keep the bare minimum of the service going.
- Special Events
Staff got the green light to insert into the proposed budget $40,000 in subsidies of city services provided to special events. The week before, city council reached a consensus to grant only a subsidy of $10,000, which to the Holiday Parade. The $40,000 inserted back in to budget Thursday is in addition to that $10,000 and raises the total subsidy to $50,000. Of the $40,000, $30,000 would go to the long-running Chasco Fiesta and $10,000 would go to Main Street Blast.