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$2 Billion Proposed as County Budget for FY 2024

The Board of County Commissioners held its annual Budget Workshop on June 15, 2023, for fiscal year 2024. Government departments and constitutional officers provided brief overviews of their recent achievements, budget requests, and allocations for the following year, including our Clerk’s office. This workshop is vital in ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being used wisely and in ways that will benefit the County and its citizens.

The workshop began with a general overview of the County budget, including a budget timeline schedule, budget characteristics, the current economic landscape, budget highlights, and challenges presented by the Collier County Manager’s office. When Amy Patterson took over as County Manager she pledged to provide a new level of transparency in budgeting. We can see this commitment through her presentation at the workshop. Funding for Board priority programs and sectors such as health and safety, hurricane preparedness, employee retention and other county services were discussed, questioned, and analyzed. Here are some important statistics and details that were provided for the proposed FY 2024 County budget:

  • Total County Budget Balanced Budget for FY 2024 – $1,998,258,000 (excluding the Tax Collector and Property Appraiser budgets which will be finalized later this year)
  • Total General Fund – $674,681,400, a 6.2% increase over FY 2023
  • General Fund Reserves – $71.9 million, these reserves are important to fund unforeseen mandates and emergencies such as hurricanes and help minimize capital project deferrals.
  • Unincorporated Area General Fund Budget – $83,611,500, a 10.2% increase from FY 2023, these are used to fund operations like road and median maintenance, zoning and planning, code enforcement, natural resources, community parks and substantial capital transfers. A portion of the increase in the proposed budget is due to ongoing repairs due to Hurricane Ian.
  • Total Capital Budget – $706 million, funding for government facilities and program improvements.
  • Total Cost of the Compensation Plan – $11.9 million, workforce investment which includes a 5 % wage increase to all classifications plus 1.5% to implement a merit-based incentive program and a .5% pay plan maintenance component to strengthen certain targeted classification pay grades where market balance exists.

Following Assistant County Manager Ed Finn’s overview, County Departments, including the County Courts and related agencies, transportation, public services, growth management community development, public utilities, debt service, management offices and the county attorney made presentations about challenges and opportunities. Notably, there was extensive discussion about budget shortfalls in public services and programs provided by Parks and Recreation and County museums. The funding requested, totaling $10,831,700 were unfunded under the proposed budget. Ms. Patterson explained that they had to make the difficult decision to deny these requests due to discretionary cuts needed to accommodate priority projects and services. Diversification of revenue structure through the implementation of franchise fees from utilities and reinstitution of the infrastructure surtax, which will end this year, were also discussed. The general fund millage rate was proposed to remain at 3.5645 mills. The same rate since FY 2010.

In the afternoon, Collier County’s independently elected Constitutional Officers appeared to discuss upcoming budget concerns.

I provided a summary of the services we are providing to the public and our contributions to the Board and County. I also shared some of our recent achievements, including the award from the Government Financial Officers Association (GFOA) for our  PAFR report for FY 2022 and my recent appointment as a new member of the Florida Clerks of Court Operations Corporation Executive Council that determines statewide Clerk’s court budgets. This two-year term will allow me to have a much bigger voice and vote to give our County Clerk’s Office an improved budget for the following fiscal year.

After the presentation, Commissioner LoCastro asked for some clarifications about the increase in operating costs in our submitted budget. These additional costs were justified due to the ongoing maintenance of our SAP system, recent software upgrades, and state-mandated cybersecurity implementation.

Another good news item shared by Sheriff Kevin Rambosk was that the City of  Naples ranked 1st on the US News and World Report’s 2023 list of Safest Places to Live in the United States. Collier County was recognized as one of the safest counties in the state of Florida.

If you are interested in learning more about the budget presentations, you can watch the full recorded budget workshop at tv.colliergov.net