BELLEAIR BLUFFS - Belleair Shore commissioners threw cold water all over pie in the sky plans for Gulf Boulevard beautification at their meeting May 17.
They were polite about it, though.
The bottom line was - "we're in favor of beautification but not at this price."
For Belleair Shore, under the county's plan, the price would be about $2 million - more than 22 times the little town's annual budget.
On top of that, county planners for the project would like Belleair Shore to ante up about $87,000 for pre-project design. That is more than the town's annual budget. (Indian Rocks Beach is being asked to pony up $400,000; fat chance, officials there say.)
Commissioner John Hayes was asked by Mayor John Robertson to do an analysis of the county's plan after meetings with county officials where a team led by County Commissioner Bob Stewart attempted to sell the project to beach communities.
Simply put, the county has offered to pay for the expense of undergrounding utilities while the cities along Gulf Boulevard would pay for beautification - streetscaping, benches, other amenities.
The cost of each of the elements breaks down to roughly equal amounts thus splitting the estimated expense of $131 million between the county and the jurisdictions.
An analysis of what Belleair Shore would do in terms of any sensible beautification elements for its town would amount to less than $100,000 - a far cry from the $2 million plucked out of the air by the county officials.
Actually, the beautification idea has been accepted in principle by most of the cities along Gulf Boulevard but when you get down to the nitty gritty, the sticker shock and poor planning estimates make just about all of them walk away.
Robertson presented an early estimated budget of expenditures that would have the town spending about 5.2 percent more than in the current budget.
The fiscal year 2005-06 budget, now in effect, calls for expenditures of $83,500. Early estimate of expenditures for FY2006-07 would be $87,900.
Belleair Shore anticipates income from other than ad valorem taxes at $25,430. The difference - $62,470 - would come from property taxes. Ad valorem income in the current budget is $64,120, so indications are that no matter what there may be another tax reduction.
The current millage is .7204 - that translates into a tax bill of about $522 on a property assessed at $750,000 with a $25,000 homestead exemption.
Once the Tax Appraiser's Office comes up with the assessed value of properties in the town, the town will calculate the millage rate.
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