The Gateway Services Community Development District has revealed its first draft of the FY2016 budget, and in it they plan to spend $57,900 by creating a monthly newsletter for the residents.

Take that, Ed Ryan.

Apparently my reporting is so heinous that the GSCDD believes that paying over FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS to make sure somebody is saying nice things about them is money well spent.

It’s part of an $8,730,663 operating budget plan for next year which sees $45,955 spent on pool attendants at the Gateway Commons Pool, and the staff health insurance plan ballooning from $9,215 per employee to $10,441 per staff member for the year.

The proposed FY2016 operating budget represents an increase of $667,632, or 8.28%, over this year’s budget.

On the same day the operating budget was released, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland announced that they expected inflation to average 1.79% over the next decade. This continues part of a trend at the GSCDD where costs have been increasing roughly five times faster than inflation for years.

Paying the five elected members of the Board of Supervisors will cost the residents a total of $25,836.

Over-all the GSCDD staff will cost $786,202 in FY2016, up from the $739,992 budgeted this year. This amount does not include support staff provided by Gateway’s management firm Severn Trent, including the District Manager and Operations Manager.

I don’t want to list his name and salary and have it come up in Google searches forever (try googling “Margaret Fineberg Gateway”), but one of the positives in the budget was the amount we pay Gateway’s Utility Director. It’s a healthy salary by most people’s standards but given his qualifications we’re getting an absolute bargain.

The so-far unfilled Recreation Manager position that I wrote about in the past is expected to have a $35,360 salary and an over-all cost of $52,069 to the residents. I believe that hire was put on hold until after the human resources audit is complete.

Looking at all of the other salaries nothing else sticks out as blatantly good or bad, however one of the Supervisors took aim at the pay being received by the Fiscal Analyst at a board meeting earlier this year. That person’s pay doesn’t seem all that out of whack to me but I guess I don’t really know what that person does.

The GSCDD wants to give its staff a 4% Cost Of Living Allowance increase. The Social Security Administration gave 1.7% for 2015. According to the operating budget documents, the GSCDD says the pay raises are also for merit reasons along with COLA.

Also in the budget is $254,100 for Management Services, $147,150 for Legal Services and $146,500 for Engineering Services.

The budget also allows $132,228 for a new project called Wetlands Maintenance – New Conservation Areas along with $30,000 for littoral planting.

To help pay for it all, the district expects $4,227,953 in revenue from the residents from water and sewer services next year.

Additionally, in FY2016 they’re planning on assessing $345.59 per Equivalent Residential Unit (basically a method of measurement used to make sure you pay the fair amount based on the size of your residential or commercial property) which is an increase of 3.13% over this year.

The operating budget document says there are 6,214.36 EAUs in Gateway, meaning assessments will generate $2,147,621 for Gateway’s general fund, plus an extra $7,187 that will be assessed to Towne Lakes Commercial property.

Stoneybrook and Pelican Preserve also have their own assessments (and costs) intertwined with the GSCDD’s operating budget.

An additional $416,168 (or $504.92 per EAU) will be assessed purely to Stoneybrook residents who live inside the gated part of their community, presumably to pay for their HOA to function.

Pelican Preserve’s assessment table includes a myriad of items including debt servicing and costs for a golf course among other things, but it totaled in at $2,357,710. It was not clear from the table if Pelican’s residents also pay $345.59 to Gateway or if their finances are completely and totally separate.

All other HOAs in Gateway are operated seperately of the GSCDD.

Keep in mind these figures are all preliminary. I imagine there’s far more work than just spaghetti-thrown-to-the-wall here, and that a lot of it is accurate. But the Supervisors will go through the budget and cut some things, maybe also add some things.

Budget discussions are set to begin at this Thursday’s GSCDD meeting.

If nothing else, it will be a learning process as we observe how the budget meeting operates.

With any luck, this time ext year they can talk about the FY2017 budget themselves in their $57,900 per year newsletter.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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