No cuts to personnel or services in Fellsmere for 2009-10


FELLSMERE — Despite the 4.3 percent decrease in property value figures released by the Indian River County Property Appraiser’s office Wednesday for the City of Fellsmere, City Manager Jason Nunemaker says “it’s not too bad” and estimated the reduction in actual revenues to the general fund to be in the $20,000 range. Nunemaker continued that, “Frankly, I’ll take those figures any day considering the situation.” He expects no reductions in personnel or services, due to the fact that the city has already taken cost-saving measures to make ends meet in the balance of the 2008-2008 fiscal year which ends Sept. 30.”We laid off our code enforcement officer and redistributed those duties to our building official, so that was a savings of $42,000 plus benefits,” Nunemaker said. “We had two open positions in the police department. We froze one and filled the other.”The city hopes to gain a net two police officers through a grant of federal stimulus dollars called the COPS Hiring Recovery Program, which would pay for three officers. Word on that grant is expected in September. “There will be no reduction in services,” Nunemaker said. “Things will be a little tight, but if we can get the COPS funds we will be able to enhance services.”All told, when the end of the fiscal year rolls around, Nunemaker estimates the city will be in the black by about $40,000, so it can absorb the $20,000 in revenue reductions from the $6 million decrease in property values.The current year budget for the City of Fellsmere is $2.5 million for the general fund, plus $16.4 million in Special Revenue Funds and $4 million in Enterprise funds, for a total of about $23 million. The millage rate is 4.33, which translates to $4.33 per 1,000 in property value in excess of any homestead exemption. Nunemaker said the city should be able to hold that millage rate steady, and that it is much lower than the 5.75 rate experienced by property owners just a few years ago.The City Council will receive copies of the 2009-2010 budget later this month and will hold its first budget workshop at 5:30 p.m. Friday, July 31 in the City Council Chambers at 21 S. Cypress St., Fellsmere. The first public hearing on the budget will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.

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