By Mary Thurwachter
The Lantana Town Council got its first look on June 24 at its budget for next year and learned that while property values have returned to pre-recession values, any increases in revenue will be eaten up by insurance increases and personnel costs.
Property values increased by $88.7 million to $1.126 billion since the start of this fiscal year Oct. 1, town Finance Director Stephen Kaplan said. Ad valorem revenue, using the same $3.5 tax rate the town used last year, would bring in $3.7 million. Total revenue projections are $11,893,420, an increase of $343,325 compared with the current budget.
The town is planning to give employees a 1.9 percent cost-of-living raise and possible merit raises up to 5 percent (based on annual evaluations).
Kaplan said pension costs are projected at 41.44 percent of wages for sworn police officers at a cost of $929,330. Pension costs for other employees are 7 percent of wages with a matching program of up to 2 percent. The total cost for this is $308,003.
Health and dental insurance are expected to increase 20 percent each for a total cost of $1,720,856.
Money the town receives from the penny sales surcharge tax, an estimated $785,000, is earmarked for projects such as an ADA beach ramp ($177,500), restrooms at Bicentennial Park ($180,000), sidewalks for Andrew Redding Road ($28,000) and improvements, including shutters, for the library ($400,000).
Two expenditures on the town’s wish list include money for beefing up parking enforcement and adding an irrigation system for East Ocean Avenue. Adding these would mean a budget increase, Town Manager Deborah Manzo said. Or, the town could dip into its reserves, although Mayor Dave Stewart said he would be opposed to that.
The council decided to use $500,000 not spent this fiscal year to balance next year’s budget, which currently has a deficit of $412,021.
The next workshop is 5:30 p.m. July 8 in Town Hall. Two public hearings on the budget will be sometime in September. Ú