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I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.








Tuesday, June 21, 2022

TDC Votes to Cut Clerk's Administrative Overhead Costs by $212,500.00

Some numbers got re-arranged at today's TDC meeting.......

At this afternoon's Tourist Development Council meeting we went through a number of items related to the proposed yearly budget.

We voted upon  the good idea of establishing some reserves for contingency within the budget--which passed unanimously.

We also had a primer in public records law and the Florida Sunshine Law from BCC attorney Steven West.

Toward the end of the meeting, the chairman brought forward a cleaned up proposed 2023 budget for TDT funds usage for the board's consideration.  (pictured above).

After Chairman David Bear went through the proposed budget line by line, it came time for a motion to approve which I made and which was seconded by Shirley Cronley.  With a motion and a second on the floor, discussion ensued with Ronnie Rivera asking what could be done about the $562,000.00 in budgeted administrative overhead fees to the Clerk of the Court (which appear to have grown geometrically as collections have increased this year).

Discussion went back and forth between Bear and Rivera about how the fee is calculated, which typically has been a flat 3% of collections figure given to the clerk for her staff's effort(s) in supporting this board and managing these funds.  Mr. Rivera obviously wanted the acurate number in that slot--not a formulaic one..which makes perfectly good sense.(Currently, the auditor general is looking into the spending and accounting of these funds, requested by TDC Chairman David Bear, and a clear answer as to what specific ammount [the whole 3%--or up to 3%--of the collections] is authorized has not yet been given.)

So what does it cost for the Clerk to support the TDC and the TDT funds?

Fortunately for us all--Mike Davis from the Clerk's office was still at the meeting------- so I asked him to come to the podium to tell us how much it costs the clerk to manage these funds and support the TDC.  He gave the figure "about $330,000.00"  so I took that number and asked if we budgeted $350,000 for the clerk's administrative overhead--would that work?" to which Mr. Davis agreed.

So I subsequently amended my motion to approve the budget,  inserting $350,000.00 for the Clerk's administrative costs (it had been a flat 3% which generated $562,500.00) and taking the delta of $212,500.00 from what was originally budgeted to go to the clerk for overhead/administrative costs, and adding that number to the 2023 surplus--increasing that number $1,487,500.00 for 2023.

This amended motion was voted upon and passed via a roll-call vote 5-1 with Jim Reeves voting "no."

Jim quipped, before he voted no, "I think this might create a controversial vote for the Board of County Commissioners to approve."  to which I responded "I think I can find at least three votes for it."

5 comments:

Unknown said...

Is Loni mad yet.

Anonymous said...

Haha.

Anonymous said...

So the Pensacola Beach gets $500,000 for renourishment and Visit Pensacola gets $7.8 million!?! How about flipping those amounts? If the beach isn't taken care of, what will people visit?

Jeff Bergosh said...

There are multiple pots from which we can pull to nourish the beach. The monies spent to advertise the area are paying dividends--we see this in the astronomical increases in TDT collections over the last few years. And no, I don't believe anyone was mad about cutting the budgeted amount for the clerk's administrative overhead; the number we plugged in aligned with what her office's representative gave the board. We're just trying to get an accurate figure to plug in there.

Tom Jardine said...

I believe that our visitors to Pensacola Beach are primarily responding to social media and word of mouth. And we’re in jeopardy of becoming too popular.

It’s likely that our advertising dollars are mostly wasted. Why don’t we redirect our tourism dollars away from advertising for a year or two, then evaluate the result?

More tourism dollars should be directed towards sand replenishment and towards the infrastructure that supports our tourism.

Let’s use tourism to pay for the Bob Sikes Bridge replacement.

Why do we continue to attract more tourists and approve additional development when our community never seems to benefit? We should be a very wealthy county.

Let’s use our heads.

Political Disclaimer