The next fiscal year’s budget was approved and commissioners then quickly transitioned into a heavy night of public hearings.
Following a unanimous vote, the next fiscal year’s budget was approved Monday evening.
The total budget was $94,674,285, an $8,535,898 increase from last year’s budget. There was no increase to the millage rage and commissioners approved the proposed 3 percent raise for employees. From the General Fund, $330,080 will be distributed to outside agencies like the Greater Plant City Chamber of Commerce, Plant City Main Street and the Plant City Economic Development Corp., to name a few.
One of the big changes to this fiscal year’s budget was the relabelling of $3 million that was in the city’s reserve. During a special commission meeting discussing the budget, it was proposed that $3 million be dubbed “Emergency Reserve,” which would mean it would be able to quickly and easily be pulled in case of an unforeseen emergency or disaster recovery.
The budget also allocates funds toward kicking off a body-worn camera pilot program. This is the first step toward determining which body cameras work best for the Plant City Police Department and will evaluate the data storage options for the equipment.
Some large projects are coming to the Community Redevelopment Agency as well. The budget allocated $200,000 CRA funds to Midtown utility improvements, $165,000 toward the Cooper Park fitness trail equipment, $161,236 toward street resurfacing, $100,000 toward public parking lots, $90,000 toward brick road restoration, $75,000 toward Brewer Park parking improvement and $20,000 toward ballfields and court lighting.
Parks all around are getting an upgrade with the budget. Playgrounds are getting $150,000 for improvements, Sansone Park is getting $12,500 for its bike/nature trail and general park improvements are being slated $40,000. Under these funds, ballfields and court lighting are getting $150,000 for refurbishments.
The city is also investing $2,535,494 toward street resurfacing. To date there have been 68.4 miles resurfaced, which is a total of 42.8 percent of the miles of roadways in Plant City.
Commissioners also held several public hearings and approved the consent agenda Monday evening. One of the changes approved ended up saving local families a little bit of cash. The Plant City Code currently had a 3 percent rate increase automatically scheduled to begin on Oct. 1 for all “single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial and special pickups.” However, the consultant recommended single-family rates not be increased at this time. So commissioners agreed to defer the automatic 3 percent increase for single-family residential until Oct. 1, 2021. This ends up saving the single-family residential customer $0.84 a month, or $10.08 annually. While that may seem like a small change, it ended up eliminating the estimated $97,000 in revenue that would have been raised if commissioners had kept the code as is.
Commissioners also cleaned up some loose ends. There was a request for a waiver relating to the construction of reclaimed water lines in the area of the proposed BonSilva subdivision. Essentially, the city doesn’t currently have any reclaimed water service in place in the area and also has no plans to extend recalled water to the location.
So commissioners agreed to approve the waiver for the preliminary plat for the BonSilva subdivision, which is proposed to create a 71-lot single-family residential subdivision inside the James L Redman at Trapnell Road Planned Development District. This subdivision is proposed to be on the northwest corner of West Trapnell Road and James L Redman Parkway.
The northwest corner of Turkey Creek Road and Reece Road will see some movement soon after commissioners agreed to approve the final plat for the proposed plat entitled Turkey Creek Industrial Tracts. This proposal is for the creation of a five-lot non-residential subdivision within the M-AP Airport Light Industrial District. The plan is essentially to do some small industrial development in the corner on those approximately 49 acres.
The City of Plant City is also in the process of donating a fire truck to the Melrose Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. Plant City Fire Rescue recently purchased a new 2020 Pierce Saber Pumper to replace a 1998 version of the truck. When it’s time to retire a truck, the city will normally take those vehicles to auction. However, it was discovered that there was a need in the Melrose Volunteer Fire Department and McDaniel said it just made sense to give the truck to them instead. If sent to auction, the Pierce Saber Pumper had a resale value of approximately $10,000.
The city is going to donate it instead so the truck will allow Melrose to “provide continued service since they do not have the funding to purchase a replacement pumper.”