Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Last night’s Lake Worth City Commission Budget Work Session.

Interestingly, no one mentioned the pool at the Beach. Thankfully that issue, just a distraction any more, is running out of steam and dead in its tracks. On the subject of tracks we learned more from Public Services Dir. Jamie Brown about the FEC right-of-way maintenance bill to the City. It’s a very high one. More about that below.

This meeting was short. It began at 6:00 and ended at 7:15. However, there was one idea that took everyone by surprise. We’ll learn more about this later in the budget process because Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell’s idea of lowering the residential millage rate by 0.25 mils was taken seriously by commissioners Andy Amoroso and Omari Hardy but they both want to see how that affects the budget first.

According to Maxwell there hasn’t been a lowering of the millage rate in 10 years. Although 0.25 mils is not substantial it would send a strong signal to Realtors, those considering relocating here to the City of Lake Worth, and City residents as well.

Finance Dir. Marie Elianor gave the presentation and said there will be another budget meeting on August 21st and two more public meetings in September.

On the proceeds from the County ¢1 sales tax money the consensus remains to focus on infrastructure and there was talk of possibly money for license plate readers and ShotSpotter technology as well.

The FEC bill to the City

It’s a huge bill and took everyone by surprise. Jamie Brown explained the City usually budgets $150–200K for the FEC right-of-ways (train crossings). Whereas cities budget using the fiscal year the FEC sends out their bill during the budgeting process instead of early on. The City received a bill for $480K this year. A significant increase from previous years.

The City, by the way, was budgeting for a $150K bill from the FEC this fiscal year. 

City Manager Michael Bornstein said the FEC “has the upper hand” and there’s little or anything the City can do but pay. Where will the money come from? Probably the County ¢1 sales tax proceeds. Commissioner Herman Robinson asked about negotiating with the FEC to see what could be done about lowering this bill. We’ll have to wait and see if anything comes of that.

*If I heard correctly, the train crossings the FEC will be working on are 17th Ave. N., 13th Ave. N., 12th Ave. South, and 10th Ave. South.

1 comment:

Russ said...

Two questions:

1) Is the increase in any way related to Brightline construction?

2) What exactly is LW required to execute on behalf of the FEC?

The FEC owns the right-of-way... I wasn't aware the communities it passes through were responsible for maintenance of any kind. Likewise, crossings are generally county or state roadways. When improvements or changes are needed they're funded through those government agencies. Most people likely believe this is the case as well. Thanks in advance for an explanation.