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Budget workshops approach the end

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By Ada Lang

The City Commission and Community Redevelopment Agency are continuing the budget process and the end is in sight, with a meeting tonight at 6 p.m.  and the final meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 26.

So far, the tentative budget for the city is $1, 835,734. The CRA's budget is $918,079.

The tentative millage adopted by the commission is 3.757 mills, which is $37.57 per $1,000 assessed property value.

In a meeting on Monday, Commissioner Scott Dennison asked the commissioners to reconsider their previous vote against taking on the cost of “Healthy Beach testing” at the city beach and relying, instead, on the water quality testing done by the state at the clam leases. 

Federal standards at the leases call for no more than 14 parts per million of fecal coliform bacteria in the water. The standard for water used for swimming is 200 ppm. 

Commissioner Sue Colson favors using clam lease testing as in indicator of water quality  and saving about $325 per month that would be used for testing at the beach.

In the past, the state paid for the beach testing, but due to budget constraints, they will only fund testing at beaches in more populated areas. State funding for Cedar Key's beach tests  ended Aug. 30.

After further discussion, the commission’s consensus was to rely on the state’s clam lease water testing and focus their efforts on ending water quality issues that they suspect are caused by boats moored at the Cedar Cove Marina (where there is no pump out station,) swimmers in the water and sewer leaks from buildings over the water on Dock Street.  

In other matters, Teresa George, the CRA administrative assistant, was given a raise to compensate for additional duties she has taken on since the CRA director 's resignation in May.

CRA financial officer Frances Hodges has only taken half her salary for her CRA fiscal duties and she was told by several of the commissioners to pay herself the money she is owed, since the current fiscal year is coming to a close.

The commission also directed Public Works Director Josh Wilson to spend some of the roughly $150,000 that remains at the end of the recent road and utility projects on additional items around town. 

Quick hookups for fire hydrants, cleaning storm scepters, replacement of street signs, new sidewalks or repairs to existing sidewalks and paving the limerock parking lot behind the city hall, are on the wish list.

Pervious concrete is an expensive option for the parking lot, so Wilson was asked to get pricing on other options, including using recycled concrete gravel.

(This report was compiled using the official recording of the meeting.)