Village approves $34 million budget

Village council tentatively agrees on a reduced $34 million budget

The Key Biscayne Village Council on Tuesday adopted a tentative $34 million budget for 2021, representing a $2 million-plus reduction from the previous year. But it was, surprisingly, funding for community groups – representing less than two percent of the budget – that received the most scrutiny.

In her introduction to the budget presentation, Village Manager Andrea Agha said, “We were able to reduce spending by $2 million while enhancing the quality of life and preserving public safety.”

See attached PDF of the proposed budget presented by Agha.

Council member Ignacio Segurola suggested that funding for community groups be reduced or eliminated due to the impact of COVID-19, which he estimated will last “many months,” and affect participation in public events involving crowds.

Council member Katie Petros proposed the groups’ requests be funded at no higher than current funding. She also suggested that money for events be put in a special fund that could be used for a variety of COVID-19 related purposes.

Not wanting to, in effect, “defund” the groups, the council discussed each request, making reductions to several because of virus-related limitations. The allocations for these events were put in the pandemic response fund.

The council stressed that the groups’ requests were included in the budget at 2020 levels, but organizers would have to re-apply for the funding when they felt they could safely put on the events. There will be a new council in place when the items come back for reconsideration.

Other budget cuts discussed involved state lobbyist fees, consultant costs, and training programs for city employees and village council members. Cutting the cost of travel, especially related to training, was discussed because most training has gone virtual on Zoom. In the end, council reduced the funds for council travel, but kept some in case they needed to go to Tallahassee.

Other unsuccessful budget cut proposals involved the FDOT bike lane through the village, and the consultant feed for the Vision 2024 initiative. These efforts were led by Segurola and supported by council member Luis Lauredo.

The council adopted the tentative millage rate at 3.2079 mils, which represents a .33 percent reduction from the roll back rate of 3.2187 mils. The overall budget is $34,197,619 compared to last year’s adopted overall budget of $36,332,657.

Callers to Tuesday night’s meeting again experienced technical difficulties dialing in, prompting Council member Allison McCormick to ask that any residents be allowed to speak outside of the time slotted for public comments.

The second and final reading for the budget will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 22 via Zoom, meeting ID: 231 627 8415.