The Nassau Bay City Council on Monday approved the fiscal year 2018-19 budget, which included cutting some vacant staff positions to reduce costs and maintain a property tax rate that hasn’t shifted since 2015.
“We went through and did a sustainability plan on how we can best sustain our budget without having to raise our taxes for the next five years,” City Manager Jason Reynolds said.
For instance, the city had created a public works position that was never fully filled and decided to cut it, among others. Potential public works employees were instead drawn to positions at nearby plants that had the same skill requirements but better pay, Reynolds said.
Money saved by the cut was reallocated to the public works director to hire contractors so the city maintains service levels. Reynolds said this is a more efficient way of operating.
The property tax rate will remain at $0.74212 per $100 valuation, where it’s been for a few years. Nassau Bay collects a 2 percent sales tax on top of the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax rate, Reynolds said.
“It’s important right now to keep the tax rate because one, it shows our residents we’re fiscally responsible with their tax dollars, and two, by having this consistent amount of money come in we can better plan for the future,” he said.
The total FY 2018-19 budget is $13.97 million, a large drop from the FY 2017-18 budget $20.07 million.
About $4 million of the FY 2017-18 budget went toward a one-time cost of building a new fire station. The city also fully expects to secure about $7.56 million in various grant funds for residential home elevations to prevent flooding. The city will amend its budget to reflect those funds once they’re secured, Reynolds said.
“We have a very strong residency that believes it’s important to elevate their homes to get them out of the floodplain, and we are very fortunate to have the resources to be able to do that,” he said.
The Nassau Bay City Council recently committed to a 15-year plan to replace all the water and sewer lines in the city, which are the original lines installed in the 1960s. Water bills will increase slightly to help fund the work, Reynolds said.
The city will borrow about $3 million to fund replacing about 5 to 6 miles of water and sewer lines in 2019. About 31 miles of lines need to be replaced, he said.
Reynold commended the council for its work on the budget.
“It’s nice knowing we have a council that is stable,” he said. “They are very aware of what the employees do for the community, and so their focus is to take care of the employees because they know in the end, the employees will take care of the city.”