published: Sunday, September 08, 2013
First hearing on Avon Park budget is Monday
By PHIL ATTINGER
AVON PARK -- City council members will have their first vote Monday on a proposed $17.3 million budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The first of two public hearings on the budget will be during the regular meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.
The second hearing is scheduled for the Sept. 23 Avon Park City Council meeting. The 2013-14 fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.
City Manager Julian Deleon said Wednesday that the city has gone from the highest property tax rate in the county -- $5.89 per $1,000 of taxable property value -- down to 30 cents per $1,000 of taxable value
That will only bring in $63,830 in the coming year.
But Deleon said the city budget will be balanced from revenue from other sources, especially the enterprise fund's water and sewer revenue.
According to the proposed budget published online, the total general fund is budgeted at $9.88 million.
It includes $1.37 million for public safety, which includes the contract with the Highlands County Sheriff's Office for law enforcement, and $2.9 million for general governmental services.
The budget also includes a contingency fund or $169,674 and a reserve of $3 million -- more than two months of operating costs, Deleon said.
Details of city departmental budgets are expected to be discussed on Monday.
Deleon told the city council in July that he planned to save funds by cost-saving measures such as buying back vacation or sick days from employees rather than giving pay bonuses.
It would remove "liability" from the city's books, he said.
Deleon also was satisfied at the time with the Code Enforcement department, which had decreased its budget by approximately $60,000.
Councilman Parke Sutherland said Friday that Deleon planned to eliminate another $30,000 by doing away with two vacant positions in accounting and utility billing and have the accounting firm of Wicks, Brown & Williams in Sebring perform those tasks.
Deleon has also expressed concern over pension costs, such as $130,000 for the police pension and more than $357,000 for the fire pension, which made up almost half of the city's $744,000 payroll.
He has been in negotiations with pension boards to lower those costs. However, strife between Deleon and officers of the police pension board have left those negotiations at a standstill.
Deleon said he hoped the 2013-14 budget would have "enough slack" built into it that the city wouldn't be "operating under the gun."
(by: Blindman~ - 9/10/2013)
Carol Knapp has a lot of compassion for her friend but he's in debt with a Morgage for more than his house is worth. Just last year Carol was collecting money for him from the public just to help him pay his bills. I'm sorry but is this the guy you want to be mayor of Avon Park? Do you want someone who needs financial assistance even after they are collecting retirement plus working another job and still can't balance their own checkbook?
Not enough mula? (by: Bone - 9/10/2013)
What a joke from @Seriously... He wouldnt be able to feed his family with a lottery check from his pension? That is hilarious. It matters not to me whether he has a big pay day or not. What is sad is the constant "he puts his life on the line" BS that we hear all the time as an excuse that makes a person like him a good man. The bank tellers put their lives on the line everyday. The school bus drivers put their lives on the line, the teachers more so than ever put their lives on the line... Just quit making those statements that try to "saint" cops as a reason they deserve something more special than the guy next door.
Welcome to AP (by: Keep the ones we have - 9/10/2013)
AP is in the paper because some people in Avon Park refuse to get on with their lives when their precious jobs are taken away from them.. The taxpayers owe nothing to anybody and I am sick and tired of paying for slugs to be employed. Let Deleon do his job as he was hired to do by the council that was voted in. Enough of this good ol boy stupidity and pretense of caring by those that just want to bring the old police back and higher taxes. Its been a team effort to get the City where it is and as long as the economic health of the city is getting better then leave it alone.
truth vs lie (by: Not fooled - 9/10/2013)
If Mr Warner has no desire to collect his money now, then why hide all the emails from the public? Why say he has none, then turn some over all scratched out to hide people's identitiers and then turn them over in increments? what is he hiding from the public ? Why hasnt he defended his "honor" by coming clean from the onset? What is he hiding? Why won't the newspaper interview him on this issue? I just don't understand how someone that claims he cares could be so deceitful to the public. Actions speak as fact. For such a simple answer he sure seems to be purposelfully delaying giving one.
Bankrupt (by: Gordon - 9/10/2013)
Rowan, Burke and bubba want to bankrupt the city.
Seriously (by: Blindman~ - 9/10/2013)
Maybe Bubba does not want his whole pension right now but maybe his wife wants him to get it. After all... they would have money to spend, they could reinvest the money. The way it is now; if Bubba died next year his wife would only get to collect about half of Bubba's pension... but if Bubba wanted his whole pension now and received a "massive check" tomorrow, reinvested the money and died next year, Bubba's wife would inherit the entire amount of the reinvested pension. Her share and Bubba's too. It's a very slick move on the part of the wife to have a spouse cash their pension fund and reinvest it like they are trying to do in Avon Park. They both live on the fund together but if he dies, household income is not reduced, she still get the same amount of money as they did when they were both living together. In other words; the wife still collects income from her husbands entire pension bennefits for as long as she lives even though he is dead.
Seriously (by: JIMMYFALCO - 9/10/2013)
From a financial point of view,if you receive a lump sum then you have a choice of investments to last for the future. The previous few years some pensions lost money, while smarter people chose where to invest what is best for you. A bird in the hand, just sayin
Know the Facts (by: Seriously? - 9/10/2013)
Why would Bubba Warner want his pension now instead of the next few decades?! That's stupid. Did he tell you this personally, or are you just feeding off the media like everyone else. Let's think about this shall we....If he received a massive check now, he wouldn't have anything to provide his family with in a few decades from now, He would loose all the interest accruing from the money that he has worked hard for and placed into the pension. Bubba Warner is a good man and has put his life on the line for all of us for years as a law enforcement officer, show the man some respect. If you are going to sit here and bad mouth him becuase you're on team "Current Council" then keep your comments to yourself unless you have facts to back them up. Hopefully he will be elected, get the puppets off of their high chairs, and get this city back where it needs to be. I guarentee you with him as Mayor, AP won't be in the paper every other day with all the drama.
(by: Blindman~ - 9/10/2013)
And furthermore ... citizens should know; fire departments are like big insurance companies, when you need them they are there, but they also rape the citizens and bleed a town dry of it's finances through the pension fund. They are worse than the police. I just love the way Deleon puts it... hopefully the city won't be "operating under the gun".
CITY MANAGER (by: JIMMYFALCO - 9/9/2013)
You do not have to like his personality or his looks, but you can not argue Thank you Mr. Julian Deleon his results. Most cities are raising taxes or other rates, and some are going bankrupt. To live in a city that is debt free and the lowest tax millage in the state or country, is a great accomplishment. Thank you Mr. Julian Deleon for your efforts and hard work. I said it before and here it is again, the best thing to happen to this city is our city manager.
(by: Blindman~ - 9/9/2013)
The other guy that wants to unseat Parke Sutherland from the council is Jonathan Remick. Now the Anderson kid has already brought turmoil to the city and if only by slight chance Remick was able to get on the council, Avon Park would be doomed. I only hope all the minorities, including the black folks in the community realize how detrimental Anderson has been to the city and that Jonathan Remick would do the same if not more harm.
Great news (by: Been here - 9/8/2013)
Finally the gain after all that pain!
All about the pensions (by: Glad I left - 9/8/2013)
Everyone needs to pay atention to the efforts put out by the pension...aka the Unions to get a stronger hold of city management and kick out Deleon. Bubba Warner is an ex police officer and wants his pension now rather than over the next few decades. Being Mayor will get him the people he needs on the pension board to make that happen. Get ready AP to witness the biggest borrowing of cash ever to pay him off and his buddies. This is how he plans to "give back to the community" for all the years he received the good will of the people of AP that employed him.
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