Tuesday was all about the numbers in the meeting rooms of the Board of County Commissioners and Port St. Joe City Commission.
City commissioners finalized a balanced budget that maintains a millage that has been in place since George W. Bush resided in the White House.
The city’s first public hearing on the budget is 5:01 p.m. tonight in the Ward Ridge meeting room.
And county commissioners held their first public hearing on the 2018-19 budget that includes a reduction in the millage rate of just over one mill.
A mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed taxable property value.
Neither board made any reductions to funding for non-departmental agencies, such as the public libraries, Senior Citizens Center, Life Management, etc.
The county-wide millage for the 2018-19 budget will be 7.1000, down from the 7.2442 of the past several years.
During their final workshop on the budget, commissioners expressed a desire to provide taxpayers some relief.
Despite a fall in the millage rate, the aggregate rate, which includes fire districts and Municipal Services Taxing Units (MSTUs), of 7.4947 is 3.66 percent higher than the rollback rate.
The rollback rate is the millage that would bring in the same level of revenue as the current fiscal year.
Each of the county’s four fire control districts levies a BOCC-approved half-mill.
The MSTU levies for the coming year will be 1.1395 for gulf-front; 0.9838 for gulf-side interior; and 0.9894 for bayside.
The MSTUs provide the dollars to be bonded to equal $4 million for a much-delayed beach restoration project.
Sherry Herring of the county’s office of management and budget, said several factors impacted the increase in revenue.
Those included the move of the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office into a new building, creation of the management and budget office and increases in insurance, pay for employees and retirement contributions.
The county is carrying forward just over $7 million in cash, of which $2.5 million is already committed.
Commissioners removed $2.8 million in grant funding, the RESTORE Act grant held up at the U.S. Treasury.
Herring said commissioners could always place the funding back in the budget if approval arrives.
After a series of workshops, city commissioners approved a budget that keeps the millage rate at 3.5914.
“I can’t remember the last time we adjusted it,” said financial officer Mike Lacour.
City commissioners have not increased or decreased the millage rate in over a dozen years.
Maintaining the current millage will bring in an additional $61,346 due to increases in property values.
The budget includes a 3 percent cost-of-living salary increase for employees and commissioners agreed to increase the cap on their contributions on employee health insurance.
The cap of $705 per month was increased to $719 per month to cover the increase in a plan that all but two employees are enrolled in.
The city saw just a 1 percent increase in employee health insurance for the coming year.
Commissioners also approved spending under $7 per employee for a Teledoc service as part of their health insurance package.
Commissioners also added $3,000 to the pot for fireworks to create a “bigger show.”
Charles Ave. in White City
In the past week the county has been addressing with “major” culvert failure on Charles Ave. roughly 1,000 feet from State 71 in White City.
County crews performed some repairs to restore the culvert, but recent heavy rains have left it “compromised,” said Public Works director Mark Cothran.
The road is likely to be closed three to four weeks as repairs are undertaken, said Administrator Michael Hammond.
The ditch was dug by the state to help drain State 71, said Commissioner Jimmy Rogers, and Cothran noted there are large utility pipes running each way through the impacted area.
“It is not a small repair,” Cothran said.
Installing a box culvert would be too expensive, Hammond said.
Commissioners authorized Hammond to spend up to $75,000, Hammond thought it might be less, to repair the area.