Draft ITID Budget Drops Assessments, Spends More

Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors heard a presentation on the first draft of the district’s 2013 budget Wednesday.

The budget calls for assessments that are 2.5 percent lower on average than the 2012 budget.

However, the draft budget of $11.9 million is higher than the $11.6 million budget of the current year. That differential was achieved by tapping ITID’s reserves, according to District Administrator Tanya Quickel.

Quickel pointed out that the reserves are still within 25 percent of the annual budget, as required by the board. Almost $1 million would be taken from the reserves, with most of it going to capital road improvements in units 1 and 9, according to the staff report.

A community information meeting is planned at the district office from 8:30 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, with a public hearing set for Monday, May 14 at 6 p.m. A public hearing and vote on assessment rates is set for the board’s next regular meeting, Wednesday, June 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Finance Director Emily Poundstone said the overall 2013 budget, if approved as presented, would mark the fifth consecutive year of decreased assessments, with an average assessment of $419 a year, compared with $526 in 2007.

“Every unit has a decrease this year in this proposed budget,” Poundstone said.

The focus of the budget, Poundstone said, was on road improvements to include a schedule for paved road shoulder stabilization; to finish Phase 1 of the Acreage Community Park expansion, including development of a revenue policy; to complete “Welcome to The Acreage” signage; and to lower the total assessment, if possible, while maintaining the current level of service.

The budget as proposed meets those goals, Poundstone said, with the largest portion, almost half, going to road improvements. The proposed budget allots 47 percent to road maintenance and operations, 20 percent to debt service, 14 percent to administration, 10 percent to stormwater management and 9 percent to parks.

Staff proposes to reduce costs by eliminating the human resources director position, outsourcing some of the mowing, reducing retirement and uniform costs, and changing how the district accounts for unemployment.

Poundstone said administration reduced its budget from $1.67 million to $1.59 million by eliminating the human resources director position. All the other department budgets are up, including parks, which rises 4 percent to $1.08 million, with the main focus on the completion of Phase 1 of the park expansion.

Additional budget focus areas include grant applications, a revised revenue and utility fund policy, 46 planned road maintenance projects, canal clearing, telemetry upgrades, outreach and public information, financial management, parks and a fund balance policy.

The maintenance and operations’ budget would rise 8 percent to $5.6 million, and pump operations and aquatics would get 3 percent more, or $1.2 million.

Poundstone said that each department prepared a five-year capital plan that would be subject to change yearly. The plan uses a revised vehicle replacement policy, adding a lifecycle approach to its existing points system, whereby both engine hours and mileage are evaluated as well as useful life.

She said capital outlay plans for 2013 include replacement of one motor grader, one truck in maintenance and one in parks, $100,000 for park improvements, and telemetry and pump upgrades.

Supervisor Carlos Enriquez said he liked designating 47 percent to road improvements.

“I look at it this way: That’s the one thing every citizen in this community is going to come in contact with that we provide,” he said. “Of course the canals and parks are important, but every resident in this community comes in contact with our roads, so it’s very important to maintain them to a standard that they deserve to be maintained.”

President Michelle Damone said a complete version of the budget will be posted on the ITID web site at www.indiantrail.com.