Surfside budget talks don’t include tax hike

The town’s $6.3 million proposed budget for the next fiscal year holds the line on any tax increase, according to information shared at Thursday’s budget retreat.

A tax increase was left out of the budget because of the this year’s reassessment, said Town Administrator Micki Fellner . The uncertainty over property values and expected appeals complicates the town’s ability to raise taxes beyond the current 40 mils, she said.

Each department head, responding to a request from Town Council, provided they need to improve efficiency.

Police Chief Rodney Keziah said the police department is working in cramped quarters and is in need of additional office and storage space. Recreation and special events director Debbie Ellis said she would one day like to see an ampitheater in town so Surfside Drive and the pier parking lot would not close during major festivals.

Fire Chief Dan Cimini suggested the town continue gear replacement plans. Planning director Sabrina Morris said beautification of U.S. 17 business is a chief concern for her deparment and said it would encourage people to stop in the town rather than drive through it.

Public works director John Adair asked council to adjust the price point required to put projects out for bid. He said the low values led to stalled projects. Town Council agreed projects costing $2,500 or more should require written quotes from three companies, upping the limit from $1,000. Any projects costing more than $10,000 would require a bid process, doubling the old limit.

Town Council did not set a time table for a vote on the proposed budget, which must be adopted by June 30.