How do you want New Port Richey to spend an extra $1 million it now has available for its general fund?
City leaders recently authorized the transfer of a pot of money from the water and sewer utility fund to the general fund, which pays for general city services. The pot of transferred money totals $1.08 million.
Now, city council members are planning to talk about how to spend the money when they meet for a workshop on Tuesday, April 23.
They’ll also be getting an update on the city’s financial outlook. Last year, an audit projected the city’s deficit would reach $18 million over five years.
The projection hovered over the budget process, and city leaders took action to try to right the ship. Among those were decisions to raise New Port Richey’s stormwater and streetlight fees, increase the millage rate and refinance the debt.
Now, the city’s deficit is projected to only reach $4 to $5 million in the five years spanning forward from Oct. 1, 2012.
However, the city still faces challenges in the form of high police and fire pension costs, declining property values, rising healthcare costs and more costs.
The city is also awaiting a final audit for this year, which is expected to arrive by July 1.
Staff are asking whether city council wants to decide how to spend the $1.08 million in utility transfer money now or wait until it gets a better overlook of the city’s financial condition.
Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips has some ideas on how the money could be used. Here’s a glimpse at a few his suggestions:
- $650,000 for city reserves. The city razed condemned trailers at the troubled Walden Pond Mobile Home Park last year and cleaned up afterward, and it pledged taxpayer money to do so, The owners of Walden Pond now owe the city more than $143,000, a price tag that includes the clean up and other costs, like fines for unpaid water bills. The city also had to settle recently in a lawsuit about a zoning issue that that will ultimately cost taxpayers $362,500.
- $100, 000 to fund a community policing program
- $50,000 to stabilize the Hacienda Hotel
- $50,000 for streamlining the CRA and updating legal language
- $37, 000 for legal fees to update the city land use code and upgrade development department computers.
- $40,000 for library computer and service upgrades
How would you spend the money? Share your ideas by commenting below!
Keep up with what's happening around town by signing up for the New Port Richey Patch newsletter!