Oakland town commissioners approved next year’s final operating budget Sept. 27, and it is set at $28,079,668 with a millage rate of 6.3. This was the second of two public hearings that must be held to make it official and the same budget amount and millage rate that was approved at the Sept. 12 meeting.
The Fiscal Year 2022-23 budget includes several impact fee projects, several water system projects, the third phase of renovations and upgrades for Speer Park, funds for new personnel and equipment for the Oakland Police Department, and completion of the roundabout on West Oakland Avenue.
The town has been able to lower its millage rate for four of the last five years — from 6.75 to the current 6.3.
With concerns of a recession, Koontz suggested the town look closely at the reserves and millage in future years and consider increasing the reserves, which would mean no millage rate decrease next year.
PEACOCKS AND PEAHENS
Town resident Maureen Jacobson presented a packet of information that included a petition signed by about 160 people requesting the town become a sanctuary for the peafowl that have lived in the town for decades.
Mayor Kathy Stark said staff will look at the documents and the subject would be placed on a future commission meeting agenda.
The peahens are no longer in the town, Jacobson said, and she wants the town to save the peacocks that still are here.
“We appreciate all the work you have done and all the passion people have around the peafowl,” Stark said. “We will take all this into consideration. … I want to go on record … We have neither relocated or euthanized any peafowl in the town of Oakland.”
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
• The Town Commission approved its consent agenda, which included a water rate increase of 93 cents. The town’s water rates are increased each Oct. 1 based on the Consumer Price Index for urban consumers, finance director Renee Mullen said in a memo to the commission. The maximum increase cannot exceed 5%, so the minimum bill for residential water will go up from $18.69 to $19.62.
• Commissioners gave final approval to ordinances that protect the new official municipal logo, clean up and update the Town Code referencing buildings and building regulation, set a schedule of development application review fees
• Mayor Kathy Stark read proclamations declaring Oct. 15 Blind Americans Equality Day and October National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as well as one declaring a State of Local Emergency. The meeting was held prior to Hurricane Ian’s arrival later that week, and the third proclamation qualifies the town for funding through the Florida Emergency Management Agency in case of storm damages.