The first public hearing on the proposed FY 2020-21 budget and Capital Improvement Plan will be on Sept. 14. Here’s an overview of where the city plans to spend its funds.
Commissioners are deciding which projects receive top priority during the Sept. 14 public hearing on the proposed budget for the next fiscal year.
This year’s proposed total budget has overall citywide revenues and expenditures at $94,709,093, which is comprised of all the funds including the General Fund, Water/Sewer, Solid Waste, Stormwater, Transportation Surtax, etc. This is $8,570,706 more than the 2019-20 adopted budget. The General Fund for the upcoming fiscal year is $2,000,728 higher than last year’s. The FY 2020-21 budget, after you count revenues and expenditures, has an ending fund balance of $15,363,299.
From the General Fund — which totals $39,822,797 — the city is proposing to allot $11,986,831 to the Plant City Police Department, $7,181,447 to Plant City Fire Rescue, $6,157,947 to Parks & Recreation, $4,317,406 to Administration, $2,929,821 to Development Services and $6,275,682 for other uses.
The City of Plant City plans to add eight and a half new positions to its lineup as well. The proposal is for a building inspector, an administrative assistant for the cemetery operations, two Groundskeeper I positions and one Groundskeeper II position for Park Maintenance, a planner for Planning and Zoning, a Storm Water Operator II, a Customer Service Clerk to transition from part-time to full time under the Utility Billing and a maintenance mechanic for the Utilities Maintenance department.
The city also allocates funds to outside agencies. The budget proposes that $65,000 will go to the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, $2,000 to the Black Heritage Celebration, $6,000 to the Arts Council of Plant City, $28,080 to the Economic Incentive QTI Program, $25,000 to the Railroad Museum Society, $2,000 to the Improvement League of Plant City, $2,000 to the Plant City Christmas Parade, $150,000 to the Plant City Economic Development Corp. and $50,000 to Plant City Main Street. Additionally, the Community Development Block Grant will help out the Boys and Girls Club with $20,000 and the Community Redevelopment Agency will allot $50,000 to the 1914 Building Maintenance.
Also in this budget are several new projects that will start to reshape the community. First up are upgrades to the Planteen Recreation Center, which will cost $25,000. The city is also spending $65,000 on the Oaklawn Cemetery Fence and will spend $20,000 on a walking trail lighting project at Ellis-Methvin park. The city is setting aside $52,500 for Parks and Recreation asset management in the upcoming fiscal year as well. There is a Bike/Nature Trail that needs some TLC at Sansone Park, which will cost $12,500, and across the city there are park improvements that will come out to $40,000.
The budget also allots $100,000 for the research and design of a spray park, or a splash pad/small water park. This study will determine the location of the amenity as well as have the features designed.
The Tennis Center is getting some upgrades as well. An additional $350,000 is being allocated for the project to help with the restrooms and showers area as well as the administration building.
On Dort Street, the basketball and tennis courts have reached the end of their lifespan. They are “severely worn and have an unsuitable playing surface,” according to the city. The plan is to design and construct new ones to replace the courts, fencing, basketball goals, tennis nets, benches and trash receptacles. The cost is $300,000, with $165,450 coming from the Community Investment Tax and $134,550 coming from PK012.
The city is also looking into the creation of a new park. Labeled the “Boy Scout Pit Park Development,” the city is setting aside $50,000 for a study for the property. The study will help the city identify potential uses and explore a waterfront park with a pier, kayak ramp and parking lot for the city-owned property on Coronet Road.
Maintenance is the name of the game for the upcoming fiscal year. The largest fund in the general services asset maintenance category goes toward a roof upgrade/maintenance that will cost $280,000. City buildings’ air conditioning is going to cost $75,000 and exterior brick and window maintenance at City Hall will run $6,000, for a total of $361,000.
Of course McIntosh Park, the star project for the commission, will also receive a hefty allocation of funds as the city attempts to transform the property into functional, and appealing, destination.
The upcoming budget proposes $287,175 for the wetland of the park. The money will be used to “determine stormwater storage capacity, use reclaimed water to maintain wetland hydration, expand wetlands to provide a natural habitat park and recharge the surficial and Upper Floridian aquifer.” An additional $100,000 will be set aside for the park’s Indirect Potable Reuse. This will aim to treat reclaimed water to potable standards using advanced technology, create a self supply or have water the city can then sell to regional water supplies and will have the first phase, which includes sampling for the pilot program.
The Lift Station 2 Basin Project will also be included in the next year’s budget. This will run the city $625,000. As was discussed in a commission meeting in July, the city’s Lift Station 2 has reached its maximum capacity. That means the capacity has to be increased. A CWO was executed with Black & Veatch for $71,557 to evaluate the Lift Station 2 Basin back in July.
Now the timeline is evolving. The consultant will have to “develop and evaluate alternatives on the most feasible way to increase the lift station’s capacity, split the basin, or a hybrid of the two.” The timeline now is for alternatives to be developed by Winter 2020. Then a preliminary design at 30 percent will be completed in Summer 2021 so that the city can get a cost estimate. The 2021-22 Fiscal Year will then have to estimate its budget based on the cost estimate that comes in.
The time has finally come for the construction to begin on the long-awaited reclaimed water recharge. The plan is to recharge water to the aquifer and provide potable-quality reclaimed water for irrigation use. A feasibility study was completed in 2019 and found that properties in the downtown area like City Hall, Bruton Memorial Library, Veterans Park and Linear Park could be retrofitted with the reclaimed water. Then the city needed to evaluate the piping and infrastructure extensions to Snowden Park and Brewer Park to meet the reclaimed water usage criteria that SWFWMD demands. On July 20, a design for the project was 60 percent complete. The upcoming fiscal year is slated to start construction and the budget allocates $900,000 toward the project.
Those who work out at Cooper Park will be thrilled to know the city is spending $165,000 on fitness equipment to be installed on the trail around the pond.
The first public hearing on the budget and Capital Improvement Plan will be on Sept. 14 during the CRA meeting after the commission meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. The final public hearing to adopt the budget and Capital Improvement Plan will be on Sept. 28.