Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seminole's budget a reason for bragging

SEMINOLE — City spending will go down next year under the proposed 2008-09 budget provided to council members this week, but the tax rate will remain the same.

The proposal shows nearly a 7 percent decrease in Seminole's operating budget, taking it from the current $17.9-million to $16.7-million. The total proposed reduction in spending is about $1.2-million.

The city's proposed tax rate of 2.4793 mills is unchanged.

Seminole's budget is a far cry from that of neighboring Pinellas Park, where a first-draft of the coming year's spending plan shows an increase in spending and in the tax rate. That city also plans to dip into its reserves to balance its 2008-09 budget.

Pinellas Park's current budget shows operating expenses of about $49.7-million. The expected operating expenses for the upcoming fiscal year are about $50.8-million. The current tax rate is 4.5478 mills. The proposed 2008-09 tax rate for Pinellas Park is 4.6135 mills.

Seminole's drop in spending comes from the elimination of 14 jobs, which includes firefighters, administrative personnel, a building inspector and a mechanic.

Seven of the jobs were eliminated earlier this year when Seminole officials laid off two firefighters and two administrative employees in the Fire Department and eliminated some unfilled positions. No one will lose a job under these latest cuts, which are mostly vacant positions.

The city will also stop paying for short-term disability for all employees. Employees can keep the benefit if they pay for it themselves.

Left untouched were the library and recreation department, which increased slightly.

Harry Kyne, Seminole's director of administration, said those are already cut back as far as possible.

Any further cuts, he said, would result in shorter opening times, which would hurt residents.

Costs for police services are increasing.

Seminole contracts with the Pinellas County sheriff for protection, and the cost of that contract will increase 5.7 percent — from $1,624,393 to $1,716,810.

Some employees can expect a 2 percent merit increase, and all of them, except City Manager Frank Edmunds, will receive a 2 percent cost-of-living increase.

Here are the totals for all Seminole departments:

• The City Council, city manager, city clerk: $632,610 (current year); $606,353 for 2008-09; 4.2 percent decrease.

• Law enforcement: $1,624,393 to $1,716,810, a 5.7 percent increase.

• Administration: $2,788,218 to $2,717,728, a 2.5 percent decrease.

• Community development/planning: $1,077,122 to $924,826, a 14.1 percent decrease.

• Public works (library, recreation): $1,705,304 to $1,763,276, a 3.4 percent increase.

• Fire: $9,990,947 to $8,919,654, a 10.7 percent decrease.


Fun budget facts

The City Council has not raised the tax rate in at least 13 years. For seven of those years, the rate was lowered. And it remained the same from the 2001-02 fiscal year through the 2005-06 fiscal year.

. Seminole's tax rate is one of the lowest in the county. Only the beach communities with their expensive properties have a lower rate. Not only are the tax rates of 15 municipalities higher than Seminole's, so is the amount the county charges property owners in the unincorporated area to provide services there (the municipal taxing unit, or MSTU).

. Seminole has very little debt and has set aside funds equal to the amount of the debt.

. Seminole has fewer employees per capita for provided services than comparable Pinellas County communities.

. Seminole does not have a stormwater utility fee. Ten of the mainland local governments and several beach communities charge such a fee.

. Only Kenneth City has a lower electric utility tax than Seminole.

. Seminole has the lowest gas utility tax in the county.

Sources: City of Seminole, Pinellas Planning Council Community Cost Comparison

Seminole's budget a reason for bragging 06/24/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 26, 2008 6:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals


    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. No lack of issues facing St. Petersburg's six council candidates


    ST. PETERSBURG — The six candidates for City Council gathered Monday evening in the very chamber to which they aspire to serve.

    St. Petersburg City Council candidates (from left)  Brandi Gabbard and Barclay Harless in District 2; Jerick Johnston and incumbent council member Darden Rice in District 4; and Justin Bean and Gina Driscoll of District 6. All six candidates appeared at Monday night's forum at City Hall sponsored by the League of Women Voters. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]

  3. Iraq's Kurds vote on independence, raising regional fears


    IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark referendum on supporting independence, a move billed by the Kurdish leadership as an exercise in self-determination but viewed as a hostile act by Iraq's central government. Neighboring Turkey even threatened a military response.

    People celebrate Monday after voting closed in a referendum on independence in Irbil, Iraq.
  4. North Korean diplomat says Trump has 'declared war'


    UNITED NATIONS — North Korea's top diplomat said Monday that President Donald Trump's weekend tweet was a "declaration of war" and North Korea has the right to retaliate by shooting down U.S. bombers, even in international airspace.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, speaks outside the U.N. Plaza Hotel in New York on Monday.
  5. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]