CALLAWAY, Fla. (WMBB) – Callaway city commissioners are zeroing in on a final budget for the upcoming fiscal year. They held their first public hearing Tuesday night.
They are working with a proposed budget of 56 million dollars.
There are still a number of details they must finalize before putting the budget to a vote.
The majority of residents that attended Tuesday night’s Callaway budget hearing were relieved that commissioners decided to leave the property tax millage rate at 2.75 mills.
“I think we’re all on board where our plan is to leave the ad valorem rate at the 2.75 that it has been at for the last couple of years. So that shouldn’t you know, it shouldn’t hurt anybody,” said Callaway Mayor Pamn Henderson.
They did decide to move ahead with an increase in the city’s water and sewer rates, beginning Oct. 1.
Water will increase by three percent and sewer will increase by eight percent.
“So if people are concerned a little bit about my water, Bill’s going to go just try to cut back a little bit on your consumption and that will take care of it to some extent,” Henderson said.
The budget includes $500,000 for a new water truck. The current truck is 16 years old and needs a lot of work.
“We may be taking out the half a million and putting in a hundred or so thousand for repairs to the piece of equipment. So that was really the most contentious thing that came up today,” Henderson said.
Some say the truck should not be in this bad of shape.
“I’m just talking about what we should be maintaining. That truck out there looks like Poo poo, why? because it wasn’t maintained,” said Ward III Commissioner Bob Pelletier.
There’s also the possibility the city could add three firefighter positions and one deputy position to the budget.
“Well, we do have in the budget to add three firefighters. We’re adding now it’s not an actual employee average. You know, our law enforcement, we contract with the sheriff’s department. We are going to add an additional deputy that can really focus on traffic enforcement,” Henderson said.
City Manager Ed Cook says he’s using a lot of grant money to fund this budget.
“The majority of these grants are not costing our taxpayers hardly any money, which is, you know, beautiful. We always want to try to always strive to maintain a high return on investment,” said Cook.
Commissioners will hold a final vote on the budget on Sept. 12. State law requires the city to have a budget in place by Oct. 1.