Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Modest cuts balance the books for Dade City

DADE CITY — City Manager Billy Poe and finance director Jim Class had seven days to balance the books.

The shrinking tax base and other dwindling revenues left Dade City with a stubborn $168,000 deficit, prompting talk at last week's City Commission workshop about the things no one wanted to do: raise taxes or cut services.

So Poe and Class pored over the city's expenses. They found an adjustment that would save a few bucks on workers' compensation premiums. They realized they could cut maintenance costs at the building no longer leased by the American Legion. They put less money toward the youth council and the contingency fund, and let a vacant police officer's job go unfilled.

They managed to plug the $168,000 hole, and they presented a proposed budget to city commissioners on Monday evening that kept the city's tax rate flat, at 7.1 mills. For most property owners who have seen their property value drop, that would mean a lower tax bill for next year.

"I had to get down into the weeds of the budget," Poe said of the proposed $5.2 million spending plan.

"Fortunately, we won't need to lay off any workers. In fact, we were able to promote a code enforcement officer from part time to full time."

The plan still awaits a final vote by the City Commission, and some members are looking for more savings.

At last week's budget workshop, Mayor Camille Hernandez offered a couple of big ideas to cut costs: Lay off eight part-time police dispatchers and rely on the county's 911 call center instead, and charge a fee to festival organizers to help cover some of the city's costs for such events.

Neither idea gained much traction among her colleagues, though.

City merchants — some of them members of the Dade City Chamber of Commerce or Downtown Dade City Main Street — attended the budget workshop Monday evening, prepared to object to any efforts to cut the police dispatchers or charge festival organizers.

"Did you notice that the Chamber and Main Street representatives attended the meeting to support special event organizers?" said City Commissioner Scott Black. "We're all relieved that the prospect of charging them fees for street festivals was eliminated."

Although he would have liked to fill the vacant patrol officer position, police Chief Ray Velboom was glad Poe's plan kept the city's dispatch unit intact.

"At least, I'm glad that our eight dispatchers were saved," Velboom said. "What can I do? They're the boss."

Still, City Commissioner Jim Shive said he would like to revisit the conversation on Police Department pensions and staffing.

"I commend the city manager and I'm glad the budget is balanced," he said. "But I still believe that we're a bit top heavy in Police Department administration. We have 16 officers and 24 sworn employees to serve a population of 6,400. There's some wiggle room and enough police employees for a reshuffle."

Hernandez said she is reserving her judgment until July. 24, when commissioners vote to increase, decrease or maintain the existing millage rate.

"We'll have until our next meeting to chew on and digest the budget packets before confirmation of the millage rate," she said. "As we move forward and as the Chamber and Main Street go along, we are trying to position the city to lighten the burden on citizens by bringing new business to town."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: The Dade City Commission will set its tentative millage rate on July 24. The previous version of this article gave an incorrect date.

by the numbers

$5.2 Million — Proposed Dade City budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

7.1 mills — The proposed tax rate of $7.10 for every $1,000 in taxable property, the same rate as this year.

$168,000 Amount of cuts officials identified to balance Dade Ctiy's budget for next year.

Source: Dade City government

Modest cuts balance the books for Dade City 07/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 11:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101