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Gulf Breeze Seeks Public Input For Budget Shortfall

City of Gulf Breeze

The Gulf Breeze City Council is hearing ideas and suggestions, on how to plug a six-figure gap in its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The city needs $266,000 to balance the proposed $6.7 million spending plan. But City Manager Buz Eddy says that’s typical of where they are in the budget process this time of the year.

“We have departmental requests that are more than the revenues will allow,” said Eddy. “So we’re ‘out of balance’ and we’re working with the department directors to try to requests and potentially look for revenue enhancements.”

One of the “revenue enhancements” on the table is a slight bump in the property tax that translates to an extra $8/ year on $200,000 in taxable value. Eddy says that would get back to last year’s ad valorem rate of 1.97 mills.

It’s estimated that the proposed millage increase would generate $35,000 in revenue for Gulf Breeze. The shortfall includes projected costs in three major areas: stormwater management, the South Santa Rosa Utility System, and the newly-acquired Tiger Point Golf Club.

“It was forward thinking of the City Council to buy the golf course; to get it in line to be able to use for utility expansion in 2021 or 2022,” Eddy said. “Buying the golf course stabilizes property values and occupancy levels out there on Tiger Point and Santa Rosa Shores. However, golf courses are not making money.”

Gulf Breeze officials are moving ahead with a lease agreement with Integrity Golf to take over management of Tiger Point. The Orlando-based firm manages about 30 courses around the country,

Meanwhile, Eddy says there are no expected changes in city services and staffing levels for next fiscal year. The City Council is also considering the addition of an after-school program for middle school students.

Looking at the big picture, City Manager Buz Eddy says Gulf Breeze’s financial shape is a “really, really” good one.

“We’re adding storm water infrastructure to make the city less vulnerable to flooding,” said Eddy. “The city’s water, sewer and gas departments are doing very well. We continue to add services on the general fund side for police, fire and parks and recreation.”

The next budget workshop is set for a week from Saturday, August 8 at 9:00 a.m. at Gulf Breeze City Hall.