At this afternoon's Tourist Development Council meeting we went through a number of items related to the proposed yearly budget.
We voted upon the good idea of establishing some reserves for contingency within the budget--which passed unanimously.
We also had a primer in public records law and the Florida Sunshine Law from BCC attorney Steven West.
Toward the end of the meeting, the chairman brought forward a cleaned up proposed 2023 budget for TDT funds usage for the board's consideration. (pictured above).
After Chairman David Bear went through the proposed budget line by line, it came time for a motion to approve which I made and which was seconded by Shirley Cronley. With a motion and a second on the floor, discussion ensued with Ronnie Rivera asking what could be done about the $562,000.00 in budgeted administrative overhead fees to the Clerk of the Court (which appear to have grown geometrically as collections have increased this year).
Discussion went back and forth between Bear and Rivera about how the fee is calculated, which typically has been a flat 3% of collections figure given to the clerk for her staff's effort(s) in supporting this board and managing these funds. Mr. Rivera obviously wanted the acurate number in that slot--not a formulaic one..which makes perfectly good sense.(Currently, the auditor general is looking into the spending and accounting of these funds, requested by TDC Chairman David Bear, and a clear answer as to what specific ammount [the whole 3%--or up to 3%--of the collections] is authorized has not yet been given.)
So what does it cost for the Clerk to support the TDC and the TDT funds?
Fortunately for us all--Mike Davis from the Clerk's office was still at the meeting------- so I asked him to come to the podium to tell us how much it costs the clerk to manage these funds and support the TDC. He gave the figure "about $330,000.00" so I took that number and asked if we budgeted $350,000 for the clerk's administrative overhead--would that work?" to which Mr. Davis agreed.
So I subsequently amended my motion to approve the budget, inserting $350,000.00 for the Clerk's administrative costs (it had been a flat 3% which generated $562,500.00) and taking the delta of $212,500.00 from what was originally budgeted to go to the clerk for overhead/administrative costs, and adding that number to the 2023 surplus--increasing that number $1,487,500.00 for 2023.
This amended motion was voted upon and passed via a roll-call vote 5-1 with Jim Reeves voting "no."
Jim quipped, before he voted no, "I think this might create a controversial vote for the Board of County Commissioners to approve." to which I responded "I think I can find at least three votes for it."
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