LAKE PLACID — The Town Council will discuss its proposed $6 million budget tonight, starting a usually quick process of setting the town’s spending for the next fiscal year.
Combined governmental expenses in the proposed budget are set at $6,039,089, a $294,565 decrease from last year’s expenses, which were $6,333,654.
Town Council proposed a property tax rate of 3.2540 for next fiscal year, reducing it from this year’s rate of 3.3250.
The next fiscal year begins Oct. 1, so the council hopes to finalize the budget by its Aug. 9 regular meeting and pass it on second reading at the council’s Sept.13 regular meeting, Finance Director Rachel Osborne said.
“We hold public hearings and encourage people to attend to see what they’d like in the budget.”
Salary increases are among the largest hits to the budget, Osborne said. This year, salaries came to $1.78 million but in the year starting Oct. 1, the town expects to spend $1.916 million, a proposed increase of $138,825.
One reason salaries are higher: Voters passed a statewide minimum wage law that is to be phased in over several years.
“The town is raising the salaries of 10 people to meet those wage requirements,” she said, adding that more employees will be brought to minimum wage in the next budget.
But minimum wage rules are not the sole driver of the town’s salary increases. Annual pay increases and the creation of a new public works position also raised salary costs.
The Lake Placid Police Department could receive $11,474.54 in raises if the council approves the department’s $420,363 request for salaries next year. This year’s salaries were $408,888.
The department estimates its overtime will reach $12,000 next year; the department’s overtime request in 2020-21 was $9,524, but it was not spent, the budget shows.
Next year’s budget document highlights rate increases in three areas: Florida Retirement System payments, town insurance premiums, and maintenance costs of the town’s financial software. In one department, software maintenance costs went up $2,015.64
There is good news in other insurance premiums, however. For instance, administrative health-life insurance costs are expected to decrease by $4,621, the proposed budget shows.
The town has also budgeted $5,000 for town elections in 2021-2022.
The budget hearing starts at 5:30 p.m. at Lake Placid Government Center, 1069 U.S. 27 North.