City Council discussed the deficit of the Tennis Center and Golf Course, as well as the value of spending city dollars on school resource officers.
The general fund of the city of Palm Coast will have an incerase of $480,000, or 5% from the 2015 budget. Some highlights are below:
The economic development budget will increase 11.3%, including $22,500 for the commercial attraction strategy. That includes paying the Buxton Corp. for beginning to work on finding retail companies to invest in the city of Palm Coast. City Councilman Bill McGuire requested that Buxton come to city meetings and give progress reports.
The recreation department wants to add the equivalent of two full-time employees. The total budget should go up 11.1%, including $110,000 for increased staffing.
Firefighters are part of the general fund budget, and there is no proposed change for firefighter personnel numbers. The total expenditures are planned to go up 4.2%
Palm Coast Tennis Center and Golf Course
The Palm Coast Tennis Center's budget will go down 16.1%, in part thanks to the fact that the resurfacing project was completed this year, rather than carrying over to next year as was expected. Other expenditures are expected to be flat next year.
Maintenance requirements will increase expenditures at the public Palm Harbor Golf Course by 6.2%. The total budget is proposed to be abotu $1.6 million next year. The revenues from the course total about $1.3 million, which leaves an operating deficit of about $300,000. Tax revenues do not support the full $1.6 million budget — only the deficit, Finance Director Chris Quinn said.
City Council and city manger
The total budget for administration is planned to increase by 7.5%. City Council budget is up 10.7% because of greater information technology charges. Mayor Jon Netts wanted to point out that City Council is not getting a raise. City Councilman Steven Nobile joked, "Oh, man, it's already spent."
The 10% increase comes out to about $10,000 total for the five City Council members. "It takes $2,000 to support me?" asked Councilman Jason DeLorenzo, half-way joking. But that cost also includes software and other technology upgrades.
Training, conferences, memberships of professional organizations including the National League of Cities, are added to the City Council salaries to total about $100,000.
The city manager's office's budget is $367,054 for next year, which is a decrease of 1.1%. Quinn pointed out that this is not City Manager Jim Landon's salary, "contrary to popular belief." In fact, he said, Landon's salary has not changed "in years." The budget includes other employees.
The city attorney's budget is going to increase 14.1%.
School resource officers
The city's cost for law enforcement will go up 3.7%, due to an increase in salaries for deputies. McGuire said he supports giving the deputies a raise — "I think they deserve it" — but he didn't like the idea that the city paid for a school resource officer (a deputy in a school). McGuire said of the SROs, "I don't they do anything anyway." If it's in the school district, the school district should pay for the deputy.
DeLorenzo said he supports the SRO program. The community policing that SROs do after school is valuable, he said. "It makes sense that the schools should be paying for them, but it takes a community," he said.
City Councilman Steven Nobile also supports the program because it helps the students feel comfortable with the officers. City Councilwoman Heidi Shipley agreed, saying that her children have gone to school where Deputy Calvin Grant worked, and Grant made an impact.