Town of Palm Beach News

Town of Palm Beach Cuts $2.5 Million From Budget

The Town of Palm Beach has carved out close to $2.5 million in savings after approving cuts from a list of 75 proposed areas placed on the chopping block.

Although the exact amount of total savings is yet to be determined, Town Council’s decision to reassess the workforce proved to be effective as the bulk of the savings will come from doing away with several positions altogether.

Town Manager Kirk Blouin’s former position as Public Safety Director, will now go unfilled saving over $216,000 annually, as well as two vacant full-time positions: Right-of-Way Inspector, and Technical Engineering Support; generating an additional annual savings of $149,390. Another $100,000 will be also made available after the elimination of the newly-created Communications Specialist job, for which no one was ever hired. Positions will be reclassified to fill any voids.

Other areas where the Town will be trimming the fat are by way of service reductions. Hedge trimming, beach clearing and street sweeping will be less frequent, to save a total of $49,000 every year. However, Town Staff has been advised by the Council to monitor any negative feedback from the public, which will serve as justification for reversal of the vote to cut back service, if necessary.

The largest value in savings, will come from the Fire Department. Replacing two vehicles: a ladder truck and fire engine, with one, generates a one-time savings of $649, 151. The three firefighter positions used to man the eliminated vehicles would be obviated, thus yielding an added $179,052 in cost-cuts every year.

Town of Palm Beach Cuts $2.5 Million From Budget

While some of the savings could actually occur under this fiscal year’s budget, much of it won’t take hold until Oct. 1, when next year’s budget takes effect.

The staff will begin taking measures to increases fees and implement new fees in the effort to generate more revenue, but are only in the drafting phases at this time. Such efforts are estimated to generate over $1 million, the bulk of which could derive from converting commercial areas into paid parking. A project that is still only in the proposal stages, requiring public input and environmental studies.

Related>>>Expected $4,000,000 Budget Increase for the Town of Palm Beach

Not all proposed areas for cuts were approved. The Council voted against reducing sweeping services for Lake Trail that would save $4,160 yearly, citing heavy traffic and risks of clogging storm drains. Mayor Gail Coniglio chimed in on the subject, “We’re smart to protect our residents from flooding.”

The area findings are direct results of the Comprehensive Review of Town Operations, initiated by Council members who were looking to find opportunities for revenue and annual savings of $5.4 million, to cover a deficit in the employee retirement fund.

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