Fiscal Year 2020/2021 Budget Summary & Introduction:
From Town Manager Jeaneen Witt
Dear Ponce Inlet Resident,
The Town of Ponce Inlet has adopted its budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 with a millage rate of 5.9 ($5.90 per $1,000 of taxable property value). Our annual fiscal year is October 1st-September 30th. The focus period for the budget preparation process begins in March of each year and takes about six months. The Town Manager begins by reviewing the status of goals set by the Town Council and then works with various Department Heads to obtain the costs necessary for those which remain to be completed. Each Department Head prepares an operating budget request. This request is then reviewed by the Town Manager, who compares it to the prior year and current year budgets while also looking at everything proposed for continued justification; any anomalies between fiscal years and other questions are addressed between the Department Heads and the Town Manager. The largest portion of a municipal budget is the personnel costs. The Human Resources Director prepares the town-wide personnel budget, getting quotes from many carriers for employee benefits. A review of the prior 12-months of the Consumer Price Index via the US Department of Labor Statistics is undertaken to determine the appropriate annual percentage adjustment of employee pay.
While a diversity of revenues is more common in government, about 80% of the Town’s revenues come from property taxes; 98% of which is from some form of residential property (single-family, multi-family, homesteaded & non-homesteaded, vacant). These statistics make the Town unique compared to most which have a higher percentage of property tax revenue from a larger number of area businesses, though these statistics show an alignment with the Town’s long-standing Vision Statement of being a residential haven. The Finance Manager prepares the majority of our other revenue estimates, charting those that have come in over the course of the current year in preparing an estimate for the next year.
Oversight of a budget is equally important to its preparation. Every week, the Finance Manager carefully reviews each expense requisition and the incoming revenues to ensure placement in the proper line item within the budget. The Town Manager also reviews this on a weekly basis in addition to a monthly review of every line item in every fund.
As the Town’s services are critical to the health, safety, and well-being of our community, a 3-9 month prudent reserve is maintained for the general fund; we currently have 6 months which is $3,000,000 in the general fund reserve and $1,000,000 in the water operating and maintenance fund reserve for this critical infrastructure.
The Town has 5 consecutive perfect annual audits which demonstrate the care used both in preparation and oversight of the budget over the course of each year. The Town of Ponce Inlet is in a good financial position to ensure capability of providing quality local government services to our residents.