Port St. Joe city commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a final 2018-19 budget and millage rate.

The millage rate, unchanged in more than a decade, remained at 3.5914 mills, which is an increase in revenue as the city benefited from rising property values.

A mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 in assessed taxable property value.

The rollback millage, that required to bring in the same level of revenue as the current fiscal year, was 3.3927; the approved millage is 5.86 percent higher.

The final approved overall budget, including general, water, solid waste and wastewater funds was $14.48 million.

In the budget, commissioners approved a 3 percent cost of living raise for all employees and also increased the cap on health insurance for the vast majority of employees to absorb this year’s 1 percent increase in insurance premiums.

The budget also includes a 2.5 percent increase in water rates as dictated under a rate study, which will be reviewed and amended sometime in 2019.

The coming fiscal year is the last in a five-year term under the current rate study.

“I want to commend staff and department heads for working hard to hold the line,” said Mayor Bo Patterson.


Langston Drive sidewalks

A project to construct sidewalks along Langston Drive, which connects Avenue A and First Street, has run into two setbacks.

The city project is administered by the Florida Department of Transportation through the Board of County Commissioners under the Local Administered Projects (LAP) program.

The county was forced to reject bidders for engineering inspection services for the project because fewer than three bids were submitted.

FDOT requires at least three bidders in order to award the project, said County Administrator Michael Hammond.

Meanwhile, cost estimates for the project have come in $17,000 over budget.

City engineer Clay Smallwood said the county was requesting the additional funds from FDOT to cover the project.



Surplus scrap metal

Commissioners approved a request from the Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School welding class for a donation of surplus scrap metal.

Public Works director John Grantland said the metal in question was of no use to the city and City Manager Jim Anderson suggested commissioners declare the scrap metal surplus.