By Stan Morris, City Manager
(Thursday, October 5, 2023) – After months of collaboration between the City Commission, Administration, and our residents, I am pleased to present the budget and five-year Capital Improvement Program for fiscal year 2023-2024.
Our tax base saw an increase in value of $2.2 billion from last year, prompting the Commission to set a goal to reduce the millage rate from 2.0 to 1.9 mills per $1,000 of assessed value. This has resulted in an unprecedented 11th year that our city has lowered the tax rate.
As established by the Commission, public safety remains an area of utmost importance. This budget will add two police officers to increase the patrol unit, and a part-time administrative position to establish a Red-Light Camera program, which will improve our ability to enforce red light infractions.
Also, with legislative changes on the horizon, the Building Department added one part-time and four full-time positions to meet the high demand of maintaining and improving our quality of service for our existing buildings and renovations.
In the meantime, future planning will be a significant task for the city this year. First is the Parks and Recreation Master Plan that will be finalized this fall with budgeting and planning of projects. Second is the update to our Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code. We have budgeted funds in our Planning and Zoning Department to develop the long-term vision for the west side of Collins Avenue.
We are still faced with significant economic issues beyond our control, such as rising costs of ongoing construction and fuel costs, supply chain issues, and staffing impacts due to the increased cost of living.
With the future in mind, we have included a total of $10 million in our Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Fund to allocate for potential land purchases. These are several parcels that have been identified for possible future growth for the city. The CIP also includes high priority projects to resolve flooding throughout the city, which include the Central Island Drainage Project and the Golden Shores Pump Station Project.
The revenue for fiscal year 2023-2024 General Fund is $48,524,769, which represents an increase of $625,211 or 1.3% from the fiscal year 2022-2023 adopted budget. The General Fund expenditures (not including transfers out to other funds) are budgeted at $49,548,578.
Our 2023-2024 fiscal year budget is presented with transparency and represents our meetings with elected officials, as well as members of the public to ensure that their needs and requests were heard. Our goal is to maintain fiscal responsibility while providing the greatest level of high-quality services our residents and visitors have come to expect. This work could not have been accomplished without the input and vision of the Mayor, Vice Mayor and Commissioners, the direction of our Finance Director, Tiffany Neely, and the Finance Department, and our department directors. On behalf of Deputy City Manager Susan Simpson, and Assistant City Manager Audra Curts-Whann, we express our sincere thanks and gratitude.
To read City Manager Stan Morris’ complete Fiscal Year 2023- 2024 Budget Message, and to review the entire budget book, visit sibfl.net/financial-reporting.