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Budget plan drafted for South Pasadena

The $5.1-million budget proposal includes money to pay off a fire truck lease, raise salaries and hire three new staff members.

By ANGEL BEDINGHAUS ZENT
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 18, 2002


SOUTH PASADENA -- This year, the city plans to hire three new employees while paying down some of its debt.

In the proposed budget, $107,000 is set aside for paying off the five-year lease of a fire truck, leaving the city with one debt -- albeit a big one.

South Pasadena owes the state $1.27-million for the reclaimed water system that was installed in 1992. According to the proposed budget, the annual payment next year is $83,600 in principal and $48,300 in interest.

Finance Director Jim Graham said the city has enough money in reserve to handle 12 months of expenditures. Increased land values will add $30,000 to ad valorem revenues next year, allowing the city to hold the millage rate at 1.5409. Sewer and other rates also will remina unchanged.

A mill is equivalent to $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property. For a $100,000 home, with the $25,000 homestead exemption, a property owner will pay the city $115.57.Graham said nonunion city employees would receive salary increases of 5 to 9 percent. The raises are the fallout from from a salary comparison survey the city conducts every five years for nonunion employees. Union employees receive a salary review every three years.

The $5.1-million budget also makes room for three new positions: a fire prevention specialist, a part-time administrative assistant and a full-time maintenance worker for the publics works department.

Graham said the specialist would take over fire code inspections, which currently are handled by firefighters on a time-available basis. The specialist also will be responsible for public education on fire safety.

The maintenance position is needed to help handle the increased workload from park developments and improvements in recent years. Graham said there were plans for additional landscaping improvements throughout the city.

The part-time administrative position in the city clerk's office will ensure that city hall is always adequately staffed, especially during employee vacations.

In the proposed budget, $198,000 is set aside for capital improvements:

$100,000 for a new roof on city hall;

$50,000 for air conditioner units;

$6,000 for reconfiguring office space;

plus $42,000 in grant money to build a Greek gazebo in the Galatea Gardens park.

Although construction has begun on the city's mosaic mural, Graham said it would not be complete this fiscal year. He is anticipating that $50,000 of the original $125,000 budgeted in 2002 will be held over for 2003. The two-sided, 14-by-20 foot mural -- a project whose cost that has generated some criticism by residents -- is planned for the Pasadena Avenue median between Palms of Pasadena Hospital and the Bayfront Convenient Care Clinic.

An additional $100,000 is for the city's visioning plan. Graham said there were no specific plans for spending the vision money.

The meetings to discuss the budget are scheduled for Aug. 27 and Sept. 24.

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