Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Pete Beach may cut jobs, services to meet budget shortfall

ST. PETE BEACH — A potential million-dollar shortfall in revenues next year is forcing the city to consider major cuts in personnel and services to balance its 2009-2010 budget.

"Our biggest challenge is the loss of property tax revenues," City Manager Mike Bonfield said Tuesday.

A 10 percent drop in property values, as estimated by the county property appraiser earlier this year, will mean a loss of about $650,000 in tax revenue.

The city expects to receive firm property tax values from the county by July 1.

"If it comes in lower, we have a bigger problem," said Elaine Trehy, the city's finance director.

In addition to lower property tax revenues, the city is also facing a significant cut in EMS funding from the county.

After a recent meeting with county EMS officials, Trehy said she is hoping the EMS cuts will be less than the $375,000 estimated.

"We may get more EMS money that we budgeted, which would help with the shortfall," she said.

Again, the city will not know for sure until some time in July.

Meanwhile, Trehy and Bonfield are anticipating the worst.

"We've made a lot of cuts," Bonfield said. "When we can do no more, we will have to recommend cuts in services."

One major proposed cut is the elimination of all merit and cost-of-living raises for city employees, a proposal potentially complicated by contract negotiations now under way with three unions representing police, fire and municipal employees.

Bonfield is also recommending the city reduce the number of employees by not filling several vacant positions and cutting others. Among the lost positions would be a permit technician, a library assistant, two police officers and three firefighter-paramedics.

Other cuts include eliminating holiday decorations, closing the recreation department's swimming pool during winter, closing the city library on Mondays and closing the building permit application window at 2 p.m. each day.

When the city's fire chief retires in January, Bonfield said the deputy chief will be promoted to fire chief, leaving the deputy chief position unfilled.

Even with all of these cuts, and the city budget is still about $473,000 short, Trehy said.

The shortfall could be offset by an additional $220,000 in county EMS funds, but that increase in revenue is not certain.

So far, Bonfield is not recommending any increase in property taxes, currently set at 2.3764 mills.

At 2 p.m. Thursday, a citizen Budget and Finance Committee will begin reviewing Bonfield's tentative budget and make further recommendations to the commission, which is scheduled to begin its budget workshops in July.

The City Commission will vote on a tentative millage rate at its July 21 meeting. Once approved, that rate can be reduced in the final budget, but cannot be increased.

The final budget must be approved by Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

St. Pete Beach may cut jobs, services to meet budget shortfall 06/23/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 6:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics


     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table


    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers


    Walk 6.2 kilometers


    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  4. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  5. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.