Port St. Joe commissioners were unanimous in finalizing a budget for the coming fiscal year, but on the subject of a lease for Capital City Bank to cover the next 12-15 months, not so much.
During a prior meeting, commissioners agreed to allow Capital City Bank to lease a portion of city property around Frank Pate Park which the bank has been using since Hurricane Michael at a cost of $3,000 per month for up to the next 15 months.
Presented Tuesday with a counter from the bank, asking for the monthly payments to be $2,000, commissioners went nowhere when Commissioner Scott Hoffman declined to rescind his original motion from the prior meeting approving lease terms.
While Commissioner David Ashbrook immediately moved to approve the lower lease payments, commissioners could not move forward unless that initial motion from Hoffman was rescinded.
But Hoffman said the bank had been on the city proper for nearly a year without paying a cent and while maybe $3,000 might be too high, he said the city should counter at $2,500.
However, with the original motion in place, all discussion was moot.
Budget and millage
Commissioners approved final adoption of a budget which maintains the same millage rate, 3.5914, that has been in place for a dozen years or more.
The millage is minus 6.20 percent from the rollback rate, that millage which would bring in the same dollars are the current fiscal year which ends Sept. 30.
While the millage remains the same, utility consumer prices will continues to rise in the fifth year of a five-year plan to bolster utility rates to cover the actual costs of producing the water along with infrastructure improvements.
Water costs will increase by roughly 3 percent and the same increase will be seen on the sewer side.
On the utility side, as of this week, the city had 216 fewer customers, equaling about $250,000 in revenue, compared to the customer base prior to Hurricane Michael.
Emergency management grant
Commissioners debated projects for which to pursue grant funding out of a pot of dollars recently made available by Florida Emergency Management.
The emphasis is on large projects, infrastructure, loss of revenue and other items impacted by Hurricane Michael.
Commissioners decided to go big or go home, deciding to seek the $5 million it will take to complete an overhaul of Long Ave., including water and sewer pipe replacement, replacement of the 20th Street lift station and possibly funding for repairs to the Centennial Building.
Commissioners will finalize projects and approve an application in the next two weeks.
Ghost on the Coast
Ghost on the Coast this year, scheduled for Oct. 31, will be moved from Reid Ave. and City Commons to the field used for parking outside Shark Stadium adjacent to Port St. Joe Elementary School, through agreement with the Gulf County School Board, said City Clerk Charlotte Pierce.
The annual Christmas Parade will be Dec. 14 on Reid Ave.