By Joe Capozzi
Briny Breezes officials want to ask Boynton Beach about the possibility of renegotiating the town’s fire rescue contract with the city.
The contract allows the city to charge Briny an annual fee based on the higher of two numbers — a 4% increase of the previous year’s fee or a fee based on the All Urban Consumer Price Index for May, Boynton Beach Finance Director Mara Frederiksen wrote in a letter to the town Sept. 1.
Accordingly, Boynton Beach billed the town $438,153 for the year that started Oct. 1, based on the CPI total for May exceeding the 4% increase. It was the first time since the 2008-09 budget year that the CPI exceeded the 4% increase.
The bill came as a surprise to Briny Breezes Town Manager William Thrasher. He’d included only $434,142 for fire rescue services — a number representing the 4% increase — in the town’s budget for next year.
At Thrasher’s request, Boynton Beach agreed to adjust the fee and give the town a $4,011 discount. But Thrasher said he wants to meet with city officials to review the 12-year contract the town entered into with the city in 2016.
“What I believe is a concern are the years going forward, particularly next year. If inflation continues to rise, we most likely will put our budget situation in jeopardy,’’ Thrasher told the Town Council on Sept. 23.
Thrasher said he might ask city officials to “perhaps renegotiate a contract that is both sustainable for Boynton Beach and sustainable for the town of Briny Breezes. If they go strictly by the contract as it is written presently, and we have a high increase in CPI, it’s just not going to be sustainable for Briny,’’ he said.
The Town Council may discuss the issue again at its next meeting, Oct. 28.
In other business, the council approved a $1.3 million budget for the year that started Oct. 1, and a tax rate of $10 per $1,000 of assessed value. The budget includes $985,557 for the general fund and $320,300 for the enterprise fund.
The council finalized the financing of the town’s $300,000 portion of the water main project. Of that total, $144,747 will come from the American Rescue Plan, $100,000 from the town’s share of county surtax money and the rest from the town’s water and sewer reserves.
• Because the council’s November meeting was scheduled to fall on Thanksgiving Day, the council decided to skip the November meeting and have a combined November-December meeting on Dec. 9 at 4 p.m.