Holiday Island board continues budget discussions

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

HOLIDAY ISLAND ó The Holiday Island Board of Commissioners discussed budget needs with directors of the Recreation Center and the Water/Wastewater departments in the District Office during a regular meeting on Monday, September 25. The meeting represented the final preliminary budget meetings with department heads and should lead to a draft budget meeting followed hopefully by a meeting to finalize the budget before board member elections in early December.

Water/Wastewater Superintendent Dan Schrader operates one of the most expensive departments in the district, facing the ongoing challenge of huge water losses caused by pressure variations and aging infrastructure. Schrader told the BOC that his job in the budget process was simple compared to that of the BOC because he knew what he needed but theirs was the complicated job of figuring out how those needs, and how much of them, can be paid for.

The biggest item in question for the Water Department is the need to replace some, or all, of the districtís pressure reduction valves, at a possible cost of more than $750,000. It was decided Monday that the project should not start before modeling and engineering studies are completed, perhaps as soon as a couple of months. BOC Chairman Dan Kees warned that without the completed studies the district faced the risk of spending the money mistakenly.

District Manager Lawrence Blood predicted no significant increase in revenue in the coming year but also expressed confidence in being able to arrive at a balanced 2018 budget. Despite the tight budget considerations Blood also recommended a 2 percent pay raise across the board for district employees.

Janice Murphy, interim director of the Recreation Center, said she thought expenses would go up in 2018. She pointed out needs for locker room and shower renovations, painting of the same, a pool cover, toilet replacements and a sunscreen for the shuffleboard facility.

Some BOC members thought that because of a lack of use during the off-season the Rec Center perhaps should be closed during the months of January, February and March.

Blood said he was in favor of keeping the Rec Center open 12 months a year. Murphy and Blood both expressed their willingness to go along with any BOC decision on the matter. No decision was made. Blood also anticipated a draft budget meeting on Oct. 30. If that is successful it is hoped that the 2018 budget might be finalized on the Nov. 27 regular meeting.

The next meeting of the BOC is to be held in the District Office at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 16. That will be followed on the same day at 6 p.m. by a nomination meeting. The seats held by Commissioners Bill Noonan and Nita Holley will be up for a vote on election day Tuesday, Dec. 5, from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Property owners may vote early from Nov. 20 through Dec. 4 at the District Office. It will be the first election following the recent court ruling allowing Table Rock Landing one vote per timeshare unit to be cast by a designated agent for the property.

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