Gulf Shores talks budget, pier project

By: Crystal Cole/ Islander Editor
Posted 11/30/18

The City of Gulf Shores has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association the past consecutive eight years since 2011. The city …

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Gulf Shores talks budget, pier project

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The City of Gulf Shores has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association the past consecutive eight years since 2011. The city departments’ work in preparing the budget book and linking their department’s goals, objectives and outcome measures to the council’s Vision 2025 key strategies and priorities have resulted in a constantly improving, dynamic city budget. Gulf Shores budget 2019 continues to hone in and focus on achieving the Vision 2025 core values. The 2019 budget of $70,499,905 revenues and $70,284,383 expenses is directed at continuing to improve transportation, education, health care and ensuring the city’s beaches are safe and inviting. Funds to assist the Gulf State Park with local environmental programs and initiatives are included in the 2019 budget. Efforts to expand economic activity beyond the beach area to the Waterway Village and the Airport Business Park are included in support for these areas in the 2019 Budget.

General Funds 2019 Budget for ongoing City operations such as Police, Fire, Public Works, Recreation, Finance & Administration, Building, Planning and Zoning, and the Executive Office is $43,457,939 for revenues; expenses are $42,794,545. Ten new full-time positions and an increase in the temporary/seasonal expense for Recreation/Cultural Affairs are recommended to continue to meet the expanding needs of the City. The recommended positions include one police officer, six firefighter/EMTs through the Safer Grant, one director of planning and community development, one building and environmental inspector, one seasonal lifeguard- pool and one traffic technician.

The 2019 Budget includes funds for a 2 percent wage index adjustment and merit increases of 1.5 percent for above average to 2.5 percent for highest performing city employees based on their annual performance reviews. Capital improvements for the city in the 2019 budget total $22.5 million.

The reserves target of $29,956,180 or 70 percent of general fund expenses is an increase of $3,069,974 million from the 2018 reserves target. The combination of strong management and continuing to increase the city reserves has resulted not only in GFOA budget and audit awards, but affirmation of double-A credit ratings from both Moody’s and S&P rating agencies which enable the city to borrow money for much needed projects at lower rates.

Departments worked on their budgets from July 23 to Sept. 14. Preliminary work on the 10-year capital plan was done in July. The city administrator proposed budget was prepared during the month of October. The finance committee reviewed the recommended 2019 budget Oct. 24.

BUDGET IMPLICATIONS: Overall decrease of $35 million or 33.5 percent from 2018 primarily due to bond issuance for transportation projects which resulted in an overall larger budget in 2018. General fund increase of $4.3 million or 11.42 percent due a full year of a 2 percent lodging tax increase to fund transportation improvements. The general fund includes another $2 million allocation for the Gulf Shores City Board of Education. City departments met the challenge to ensure revenue increases for debt service related to transportation and school system support are maintained without impacting city operations.

Little Lagoon Pass Park Pier project bid

On Nov. 14, sealed bids were opened for the Little Lagoon Pass Park Pier project. Asphalt Services, Inc. (ASI) was the low bidder for the project with a base bid amount of $115,005. ASI was also the low bidder for Add Alternate Two with an amount of $24,136.25 for a total project cost of $139,141.25. Public works recommends awarding the contract for the base bid and Alternate Two. As this is a unit bid contract, public works recommends awarding the contract for an amount not to exceed $150,000 to include any contingencies.

This project will provide: an ADA-compliant wooden pier on the north side of Little Lagoon Pass Park, an ADA accessible 10-foot-wide asphalt multi-use path to connect the pier to the existing

parking area and two ADA-compliant handicap parking stalls.

In addition to the amenities provided above, there is an additive Alternate Two that provides for the extension of the pedestrian pathway approximately 350 feet to the east, which will allow residents of a cottage subdivision currently under construction to access both the pier and Lagoon Pass Park. This extension will be funded using the sidewalk impact fees paid by the developer of this subdivision including those from the cottage subdivision. It is the intent of public works to eventually extend this pathway to West 13th Street.