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Lantana approves budget with utility rate increases

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The two Lantana Fresh Water Supply District boards this week approved their respective annual budgets and property tax rates with a slight increase in utility rates.

The boards passed an increase in the water/sewer/trash rates effective Oct. 1 that will cost the average resident an additional $3 to $4 per month.

“This is a dollar for dollar pass-through rate increase, to cover the increases from Waste Management and the Upper Trinity Regional Water District,” said district controller Rich Harned.

Expected revenues for FWSD #6 and #7 for the 12 month period starting Oct. 1 are $14.7 million and combined expenses are budgeted at $14.5 million, with a majority of the expenses consisting of utilities and municipal bond payments.

Most of the bonds are estimated to be paid off in FWSD #6 in the year 2027 and FWSD #7 in 2035, according to Harned.

The boards approved a 3.5 percent salary increase for districts’ staff based on performance and a 5 percent increase for Lantana General Manager Kevin Mercer, along with authorizing up to $3,000 for Mercer to recognize staff members that go above and beyond the call of duty.

Also in the budget is a crossing guard employed by the sheriff’s department to work the Lantana Trail/Stacee Lane crosswalk on school day mornings and afternoons for an hour to an hour and a half per shift.

The annual reimbursement cost going to the sheriff’s department for the crossing guard is estimated to run between $7,770 and $8,933.

Lantana’s FWSD ad valorem tax rate will remain unchanged at $1 per $100 of property valuation.

In other action, at their joint meeting on Sept. 11, the boards voted to table a proposal to build a district office building after meeting in closed session to discuss purchasing a building site adjacent to Lantana.

The districts currently lease 4,000 square feet in Bartonville Town Center at a monthly rate of $8,370 plus real-estate taxes, insurance and property-maintenance costs and are expected to renew the lease this coming spring.

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