Fernandina Beach budget update: March 2021

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
April 21, 2021


Comptroller Pauline Testagrose

At the April 20, 2021 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC), Mayor Mike Lednovich announced that the City is due to receive $5.5M in federal rescue funds.  He asked how that money would be accounted for in the budget and how it could legally be used.  Comptroller Pauline Testagrose reported that the U.S. Treasury will issue guidance shortly, but that at this time it is not clear whether the funds will come directly from the federal government or via the state.  She added that while the funding target is infrastructure, it is not yet clear whether the money would be targeted to specific activities such as water and sewer or whether it could be used to fund other projects from the City’s Capital Improvement Plan.

In response to a question from Commissioner Chip Ross, Testagrose confirmed that the $5.5M is a “fuzzy number.”

City Comptroller Pauline Testagrose submitted the City’s March 2021 Monthly Budget Report to the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) at the FBCC’s April 20, 2021 Regular Meeting.  It appears below.

Overall: March is the six month and represents 50% of the budgeted fiscal year 2020/2021. All revenue and various grant revenues have been accrued for the month of March. All recurring expenses have been recorded. Annual maintenance and service contracts have been paid. Finance will monitor expenses and prepare budget amendments to ensure budgeted amounts are not exceeded on a line-by-line basis. 

General Fund: (001)
Total General Fund revenues are at 78.9% of the annual budget. This is due to the timing of Property Tax and Local Business Tax receipts. For the month of March, Property Tax is at 93.3% or just over $13.8M year to date. Intergovernmental revenue is at 92.3% of the budget due to the reimbursement under the Cares Act for COVID related expenses. Specific revenue sources we are tracking are detailed below.

General Fund expenses are at 36.8% of the budget which is below the 50% mark. City Clerk, Finance, and Non-Departmental, are over the 50% mark, primarily due to the payment of annual maintenance and professional services contracts. The annual maintenance and services fees include video streaming, archiving, and annual computer system maintenance contracts.

Special Revenue Funds: (100 – 190)
As was anticipated, Revenues plus Cash Balance Forward exceed Expenditures for all Special Revenue funds. The Land Conservation Fund in January closed on an additional 5.35 acres of land in the City. The current balance in this fund for land purchases is $325k.

Debt Service Funds: (220 – 230)
Semiannual interest has been paid on the GO Bonds in Fund 220 in October and in March for the Utility Debt Service Fund 230.

Capital Improvement Funds: (300 – 330)
The Capital Improvement Fund – 300, a debt service payment was made on the Fire Truck and a new Bucket Truck was purchased for Streets. Encumbrances and or payments have been issued for beach monitoring, street striping, paving, ARC roof building C, the Peck Center window replacement project and MLK Kiddie Pool improvements. Revenues exceed expenditures for the Capital Expansion and Wastewater Capital Improvement Funds.

Golf Course: (410)
This is the first full month that the City is managing the Golf Course. The new Toptracer Facility had its grand opening on March 27 . Profit and loss for the Pro Shop sales is above the budgeted ratio, while Food and Beverage is below. 

Airport: (420)
Revenues exceeded expenses. This is primarily due to the FAA grant revenue for the Runway 4/22 Rehabilitation project.

Sanitation: (440)
Revenues exceeded expenses for March. The City will take over the yard debris collection in April. A grapple truck was purchased in March to accommodate this service. 

Wastewater: (450)
Revenues exceeded expenses year to date. With the reduction in Wastewater Charges that went into effect October 1, revenue is ($252,850) or (8.50%) lower than last year.

Water: (460) 
Revenues exceeded expenses year to date for March. Water charge revenue is lower this fiscal year versus last year by ($81,922) or (4.0%). 

Stormwater: (470)
Expenses exceeded revenues for March. This is primarily due to the lease payments on equipment.

Marina: (480)
Year to Date revenue for Slip Rentals – Transient is at $301,149 or 54.8% of the budget. Work continues to replace the fuel lines and the anticipated completion date is April. 

Fleet: (510)
Revenues exceeded expenses year to date. This fund is meant to be self-supporting. 

Utility Billing and Utility Administration: (520 – 530)
It is anticipated in the budget, that Revenues plus Cash Balance Forward exceeds Expenditures in Utility Billing and Utility Administration.


Following her report, Commissioner Chip Ross quoted from an email he had received claiming that per capital expenditures “had mushroomed under the current regime.”  Ross called attention to a slide that demonstrated per capita expenditures over the past 10 years, refuting that claim.  Ross said that with help from Testagrose he had put together a slide (below) showing that today the City is spending less per capita than it did 10 years ago.  “I think that shows good management,” he said.  “So when people say our expenses are out of control, I simply say they are in line with what they were 10 years ago.”

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