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City Finances Get $970,000 Boost

Officials found the money in the the water and sewer utility reserves. Now, city leaders will have to decide how to use it.

City Finances Get $970,000 Boost

New Port Richey city leaders authorized the transfer Tuesday, April 2 of $967,699 from the city’s water and utility fund to the general fund.

That means they now have some extra spending money on hand to use in the general fund to use in the general, which is the primary fund for paying for most city services.

The transfer of $967, 699 follows the recommendations of a five-year revenue study by consulting firm Burton & Associates. The city restructured its utility debt last year to allow for transfers to the general fund and asked the consulting firm to weigh in.

The transfer includes $847,599 generated by the annual payment from Tampa Bay Water for the purchase of utility assets. It also includes $100,000 as part of a new payment in lieu of franchise fees.

The council didn’t make any decisions on how to allocate the extra money. 

But Councilman Bill Phillips has a few ideas on how to use the cash and presented a list possibilities to other council members.

Here’s a glimpse at a few his suggestions: 

    • $650,000 for city reserves.  The city razed condemned trailers at the troubled Walden Pond Mobile Home Park last year and cleaned up afterward, and it pledged taxpayer money to do so,  The owners of Walden Pond now owe the city more than  $143,000, a price tag that that includes the clean up and other costs, like fines for unpaid water bills. The city also had to settle recently in a lawsuit  about  a zoning issue that that will ultimately cost taxpayers $362,500.
    • $100, 000 to fund a community policing program
    • $50,000 to stabilize the Hacienda Hotel
    • $50,000 for streamlining the CRA and updating legal language
    • $37, 000 for legal fees  to update the city land use code and upgrade development department computers.
    • $40, 000 for library computer and service upgrades
    • $40,000 for the fire department

      Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe liked the idea of updating the city’s land use code. The code “stinks,” he said.

      “I would encourage all of you to give some serious consideration to that particular item, he said.

      Tuesday was Marlowe’s last meeting in his term as a councilmember. He’s not running for re-election April 9.

      What do you think the city should do with the money? Share your thoughts by commenting below.

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