Monday, September 7, 2015

2015-16 Budget Review

Do your streets needs re-paving? Are you wondering about our City's emergency reserve funds in case of a hurricane or other disaster? Concerned about tax rates, neighborhood grants or capital improvements?

This Tuesday at 6:00 p.m., our City Council will hold its first budget hearing to review Belle Isle's proposed budget for fiscal year 2015-2016, which covers October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. The proposed budget also includes the City's capital improvement plan (CIP) for 2015-2020. You can find a copy of the budget and CIP linked below

Belle Isle 2015-16 Proposed Budget & CIP

Emergency Reserves

One important concern that has been brought up at numerous City Council meetings is Belle Isle's lack of a designated emergency reserve fund. Despite many discussions about designating a separate emergency reserve fund, there is no indication that the City has yet established any separate interest-bearing account that cannot be touched except in cases of designated City emergencies.

It is also important to note that our City's financial reserves are still nowhere near what the City held prior to Hurricane Charley in 2004. When our City faces another serious emergency, we will be at the mercy of insurers, creditors and contractors if we are unable to provide the up-front cash needed to incentivize quick repairs to City infrastructure.

Paving Plans

At the beginning of FY 2014-15, both Belle Isle and Orange County did some much-needed resurfacing of streets in and around the City. Before these projects began, the City Manager obtained rankings of streets that Belle Isle is responsible for paving, to determine the condition of every street. These rankings are printed in the meeting agenda linked at the bottom of the article.

Street rankings utilized a 1-10 scale with lower numbers indicating poorer road condition. Some streets are omitted from the list, including all streets in Lake Conway East and Lake Conway Estates, as well as Cove, Peninsular, and the City’s two short unpaved streets (MacCawley and Avocado ). Also not included are streets inside gated communities and streets that are maintained by Orange County, such as Hoffner, Seminole, Judge, Matchett, McCoy, part of Gondola, and Daetwyler.

Below, you will find a street list which includes the rankings provided by Middlesex paving company as well as the fiscal year that each street was or will be resurfaced according to the proposed CIP linked above. As you can see from the data, some of the worst streets are not scheduled to be repaved for many years, while other streets which are still in decent shape are scheduled for repaving sooner.



Streets with rank of 1:
Horizon Court    2014-15
Wilks 2014-15
Woodbine 2014-15
Waltham 2014-15
Streets with rank of 2:
Warren Park Road 2016-17
Trentwood 2014-15
Burbank Avenue 2014-15
Overlook 2016-17
Nela Ave (near city hall) 2019-20
Perkins 2016-17
Idaho 2016-17
Swan (near city hall)   2016-17
Conway Circle 2016-17
Nevada 2016-17
LaBelle 2014-15
Belle Vista 2014-15
Oak Island (with curb) 2017-18
Crosslake 2017-18
Kissam Ct 2017-18
Streets with rank of 3:
Lake Conway Shores 2014-15
Jade Circle 2014-15
Ming Drive 2014-15
Hollyhock 2014-15
Honeysuckle 2014-15
Barby Lane 2016-17
Indian Drive 2016-17
Willoughby Lane 2016-17
Via Flora 2014-15
Trentwood#2 2014-15
Flowertree 2014-15
Lake Drive 2016-17
Windharbor/Windwillow 2015-16
Colleen 2015-16
Stafford Drive 2015-16
Pam Circle 2015-16
Windmill Ct 2014-15
Oak Island (no curb) 2017-18
Pleasure Island Rd 2017-18
Streets with rank of 4:
All streets in Windsor Place (Battersea, Deerhurst, Rothburg, Hawford, Chiswick, Wadsworth, and Edingham Court) 2018-19
Gondola (Nela to Perkins) -----------
Fulmer 2015-16
Wind Drift 2015-16
Wind Harbor Road 2015-16
Dewayne Drive ----------
Derine Way ----------
Oak Island Point ----------
Venetian ----------
Parkway Drive ----------
Streets with rank of 5:
Stockbridge 2016-17
Cay 2016-17
Delia 2016-17
Gibson 2016-17
Homewood 2019-20
Island 2019-20
Trace 2019-20
Easter 2019-20
Pasadena ----------
Streets with rank of 6:
None
Streets with rank of 7:
All streets in The Lakes and Landings (Conway Lakes Drive, Waters Edge, Admiralty, Orange Knoll, Citrus Valley, The Landings Drive, and St. Partin Place) 2017-18
Streets with rank of 8:
Nela Avenue (Seminole to near city hall) 2019-20
Unranked streets:
Nela Avenue (Seminole to near City Hall) 2019-20
All streets in Lake Conway East 2018-19
McCawley Court 2015-16



City Taxes & Fees

With regard to City taxes and fees, your city ad valorem tax rate will remain the same next year, but an increase in local property values may result in an increase of the dollar amount that you will pay. The City is also doubling its stormwater fee to be collected from citizens. No other increases are planned under the proposed budget.


Neighborhood Grants

The 2015-16 budget does not include any funding for the Belle Isle Neighborhood Grants (BING) program, likely due to lack of use. This program was initiated in the 2013-14 fiscal year, but the City had no applicants for these grant funds in the 2014-15 year.

Proposed Council Resolutions

In addition to the budget itself, a number of Council resolutions related to budgetary issues will be considered and voted upon at the upcoming meeting. Complete copies of these resolutions can be found in the meeting agenda, which includes proposals to:

  • repaving City streets in the order of the worst-ranked streets first
  • qualify the City of Belle Isle as a "Tree City, USA"
  • designating a separate Emergency Reserve Fund
  • requiring detailed monthly income and expense reports
  • establishing a cooperative effort with the Conway Navigational Board for funding water quality improvements in the Conway chain of lakes

Unlike ordinances which must have more than one reading and votes, Council resolutions are only voted upon once. So if you have comments about these proposed resolutions, please be sure to attend the Tuesday meeting and speak your mind.

Meeting Agenda

Sorry for the delayed publication of this article, but I did not obtain a copy of the meeting agenda until earlier this evening. As of the time of publication, the meeting agenda is still not available on the City website, but can download it through the link below:

City Council Special Meeting Agenda - September 8, 2015

Please note that following the budget hearing on Tuesday, September 8 at 6:00 p.m., there will be a second and final budget hearing on Monday, September 21. You will have an opportunity to make your opinions heard at both meetings, so be sure to fill out a green comment card if you have anything to say. Our City Commissioners do listen when citizens come to speak on an issue, so please plan to participate in this exercise of democracy!

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