City of Beaufort finance discussions continue with capital improvement projects by sector

emoody@beaufortgazette.comApril 9, 2013 

Beaufort City Council hears from staff about projects during the Tuesday night council meeting.

STAFF PHOTO

  • In other business, council:

  • Approved updates to the business license ordinance, including a last-minute change to the number of days a business has to respond to notices and to appeal. Businesses now have 10 days instead of five. A recommendation to add electronic notifications was not approved.

  • Heard no comments during a public hearing about rezoning Inlet Road for parking and access to the proposed Publix development on Lady's Island.

  • Approved co-sponsorship of the Knights of Columbus' Flag Day Celebration on June 14 at the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

  • Approved street closures, serving alcohol and the use of the waterfront park playground parking lot for the Main Street Beaufort, USA, Taste of Beaufort on May 3 and 4.

  • Heard about changes to the National Flood Insurance Program, which the city participates in to help lower insurance costs for property owners.

  • Heard one comment -- and no opposition -- from Beaufort Housing Authority representative Angela Childers during a public hearing about changing Greenlawn Drive from a main street to a neighborhood street.

  • Heard no comments during a public hearing on clarifying the definition of outdoor merchandise in city laws governing its display.

Beaufort City Council continued to explore cost and revenue expectations for next year during its Tuesday night meeting, including a discussion on how many services and projects the city can afford in the future.

Council members are considering a list of millions of dollars worth of projects they could authorize. Those projects were broken down Tuesday by the area of the city they are in. The projects come from the city's Civic Master Plan, and many would take multiple years to finish.

The 2014 fiscal year begins July 1, and the city must have a budget in place by then. Council has been discussing revenues and expenses with finance director Kathy Todd for the past month and a half and is currently focused on capital improvement projects such as road and sidewalk repair.

Todd said estimating costs is not perfect science and may not include all revenue and expenses.

With an expected decrease in property tax revenue, and the end of a special tax district that offset costs in the downtown district, council will need to take a hard look at what services it provides, how it pays for them and what improvement projects it wants to undertake in the future, Todd said.

"What is happening with revenues shrinking, decisions are going to have to be made on how we address the service delivery levels that have been established in the past," she said.

Council has previously discussed ways of increasing revenue, including additional fees and a penny sales tax, and Todd introduced the idea of special improvement districts Tuesday night.

A municipal improvement district typically involves the city taking out a bond to pay for projects.

A business improvement district typically involves an additional fee or tax on businesses in the area.

Related content

  1. Beaufort City Council considers capital projects for fiscal year 2014, March 26, 2013
  2. City of Beaufort discusses fees, penny sales tax options, March 19, 2013
  3. City of Beaufort residents could face tax increase next year, March 12, 2013

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