Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority recovery inches forward

dgraham@bradenton.comMay 8, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Keeping a healthy budget for the Inter-District Authority means this year's budget should require a 9.8 percent increase in contributions from the Community Development Districts if votes go according to plan at the May 16 board meeting.

It's good news, however, considering IDA revenues actually decreased 0.8 percent, according to chief financial officer Steve Zielinski.

The difference is 2013 district contributions will total an estimated $2.059 million while the 2014 budget anticipates $2.135 million in revenues.

"The reasons for the changes are basically threefold," Zielinski said.

"First, the IDA reduced the amount of surplus used to defray the budget from $150,000 to $100,000. Second, the projected amount of personnel costs increased and third, requirements for updated software, hardware and IT costs rose, making the Town Hall budget $17,460 more than the previous year.

"That was basically what resulted in the overall increase in contributions from the districts," Zielinski said.

The IDA will also buy a new truck to replace a vehicle to be determined. The IDA budget allows one vehicle to

be replaced each year from the pool of working trucks and service equipment.

Other capital improvements include maintenance and audio/visual items, gates, flooring, parking surfaces, paint and lighting for Town Hall.

"I think what we're going to see is there will be a bigger increase in the expenses of running the IDA over the next year than there has been over the last few years," said Chairman Tom Green, who represents CDD 2, serving Country Club and Edgewater. "We have tried to keep expenses flat because of the recession. Now that we're coming out of the recession, we're seeing some of the costs increase, plus the IDA is seeing a greater increase in costs than what residents would like to see."

The IDA Board "basically agreed" with the budget proposed by Zielinski and Executive Director Eva Rey, Green said.

"We're all set to approve our budget and that will set the basis for each of the districts," Green said. "We're trying to hold our costs in line with expectations, but there are some things that we do need to do in order to keep the community running as efficiently as possible."

Dee Graham, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 7027, or tweet @DeeGrahamBH.

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