• 57°

Pleasure Island Commission adopts budget



By Sherry Koonce

The News staff writer

A new budget that includes money for employee pay raises, increased health care expenses and soaring fuel costs was approved Tuesday by the Pleasure Island Commission.

The 2008-2009 fiscal year budget includes $961,000 for operating expenses. Those expenses are funded entirely from revenue generated by the island commission, Jimmy Dike, director of the Pleasure Island Commission, said.

“Pleasure Island receives zero tax dollars to operate on,” Dike said.

The new budget reflects $950,000 in projected revenue derived from leases and land sales. The new revenue amount is $29,000 less than last year’s $979,000.

Dike said last year additional revenue was generated by an 25-space RV park at Logan Park. The facility is no longer open, resulting in about a $25,000 revenue loss for the island commission.

This year’s operating expenses are coming in at $54,000 above last year. Among those added expenses is a 4 percent pay raise for the commission’s seven employees. Also added are additional costs for employee health care premiums and fuel-related expenses.

“The big expense out here is fuel. Between fuel and maintenance, we’ll spend close to $40,000 on our vehicles,” Dike said. Dike said the new budget is fiscally sound, but does not allow much in extra funds for storm-related repairs such as those incurred last year by Hurricane Humberto. Damages incurred by Humberto cost the commission an added $25,000.

“The county did not have enough damage for FEMA to help us out and the city did not help us out, so the commission had to pay for the damages,” Dike said. “Hopefully we will not have that expense again this year.”

Neither the new budget or the 2007-2008 fiscal year budget had new land sales figured in, Dike said.

The commission has been engaged in talks with developers that have expressed interest in building condominiums, restaurants or hotels, Dike said.

The problem, he said, is the island is near capacity for wastewater, and would need infrastructure improvements to accommodate a large development.

Contact this reporter at skoonce@panews.com.