Council Budget Workshop - July 14, 2015



The Miami Shores Village Council met on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 to conduct their Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budget Workshop at the Community Center. The meeting was called to order at 6:00 PM with the following members present:

PRESENT:                 Alice Burch

                               Steven Zelkowitz (arrived at 6:30 PM due a scheduling conflict)

Herta Holly

                               Ivonne Ledesma

Jesse Walters

ALSO PRESENT:        Tom Benton, Village Manager

                               Barbara Estep, Village Clerk

                               Holly Hugdahl, Finance Director

                               Elizabeth Keeley, Administrative Services Coordinator

                               Sarah Simpson, Accountant

Mayor Burch called the meeting to order and introduced Mr. Benton, who provided information and highlights from his Budget Message contained in the budget document. Mr. Benton provided information regarding the general fund budget, and that the proposed budget is balanced using the 8.0 mill tax levy.

Mr. Benton reviewed the Village’s revenue projections, including increased revenue projections received from the State and lower than anticipated employee health insurance cost increases. These factors account for an additional $150,000 in revenues which had not previously been reported. Mr. Benton responded to Council questions regarding the projected revenues.

Councilwoman Ledesma voiced a number of concerns regarding the appearance and formatting of the budget document. Mr. Benton and Ms. Hugdahl advised that the new financial software program formats the pages as printed, however some modifications will be possible for the future.

Councilwoman Ledesma asked about the new positions proposed and incorporated into the budget. She indicated that she would like to see a Human Resources person be hired before any other position funding is considered. Discussion amongst the Council and members of the Staff centered around the functions and responsibilities of human resources and who in the Village manages those functions. At the conclusion of the discussion, Councilman Walters suggested that he would agenda the issue for the fall for further discussion and possible inclusion in the following year’s budget.  

The Village Council reviewed the individual Departmental Budgets. The following Departments were discussed with the Department Heads providing information relevant to their respective budgets and responding to questions posed by Council.   Departments were discussed in the following order:

          Planning & Zoning Department                   Public Works Department

Building Department                                 Mayor & Council

Code Enforcement Department                   Village Attorney

Brockway Library                                      Village Clerk

Recreation Department                             Village Manager

          Police Department                                    Finance Department



During review of the Recreation Department budget suggestions were made regarding the possibility of increasing revenue at the Aquatics Center. Councilwoman Ledesma pointed out that the Aquatic Center loses approximately $350,000 annually. A number of possibilities were mentioned and the Council will agenda and review options in the fall. In addition, the $1,000 Fine Arts Commission request was discussed. The Police Department budget was discussed and specifically, a request was made to have the Department uniforms bid out through an RFP solicitation. In addition, discussion regarding the reasons promoting from within is not appropriate for the command staff position to be hired for the new budget year. Chief Lystad indicated that both the currently employed Lieutenants are officially retired from the Department. During the Public Works Department review, Councilman Walters’ request for $20,000 in holiday light decorations was discussed.   Mr. Benton indicated that he would like to allocate an additional $10,000 for necessary electrical upgrades to accommodate the holiday light displays. Council Members discussed the proposed Assistant Public Works Director position and the proposed timing for the new hire.

Following the departmental budget discussions, Councilwoman Ledesma asked about the Charter School Lease and rent payments. Mr. Benton provided information as to the rent payment paid to the Village. Councilwoman Ledesma stated that she would like to stop the rent requirement and refund the monies. Mr. Benton outlined the direct expenses paid by the Village amounting to approximately $70,000. Vice Mayor Zelkowitz indicated that the lease is a legal document which if the Council directs, may be renegotiated. The Council indicated that they would like to discuss further in the Fall and possibly have a joint meeting with the Charter School Board.

Council discussed and agreed upon using a portion of the $150,000 additional revenues on the following items:

- Holiday decorations/lights and associated electrical work - $ 30,000

- Downtown Design Standard program                             - $ 50,000

- Fine Arts Commission funding increase                           - $   1,000

- Overtime funding for tree-trimming crew to                    - $ 29,000

         Eradicate non-native nuisance trees

At the conclusion of the presentations and discussions, the Council reached a consensus to accept the proposed operating ad valorem tax levy of 8.0 mills and 0.5289 mills for the debt service tax levy, which will be confirmed with the adoption of a Resolution at the July 21, 2015 Regular Council Meeting.   The Council requested that the Administration evaluate the feasibility of lowering the millage rate to 7.9.

The July 14, 2015 Budget Workshop on the proposed Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Budgets was adjourned at 9:30 PM.


                                                                                  Alice Burch, Mayor


Barbara A. Estep, MMC

Village Clerk

Amended as of July 21, 2015 Council Meeting