Summertime is budget time for the Community Development Districts. It’s easy to hear the complaints about costs increasing and think that it is because of mismanagement. You’ve probably noticed how the cost of everything, such as gas, groceries and your electric bill, have increased this past year as inflation continues to impact everything we buy.
If you’ve ever attended any of the many budget hearings that occur for the CDDs and the various special districts that are managed by the district finance department, I think you’ll see that they do everything possible to keep costs as low as possible while still providing the services we expect.
Whenever possible, contracts are piggy-backed to take advantage of volume pricing whenever possible. One of the most significant impacts on budget increases is the mandatory increase in the minimum wage. Voters approved an annual $1 increase in 2020. Each September requires a significant additional expenditure due to this wage increase. When the majority of your costs are labor-related, which happens with service-centric organizations, this results in significant cost increases. Looking at the increase in labor costs, many presume that it is because of additional staffing but this is not correct. In addition to providing a $1 increase to those making minimum wage, it’s only fair to also increase the wages of the rest of the workforce to address wage compression which occurs due to the minimum wage increase.
It’s not very realistic to think that given the state of today’s economy and high rate of inflation and the mandatory state minimum wage increase, that we can receive the same level of services from our local government without costs increasing. If you want to learn more, consider attending the monthly meeting of your Community Development District. Each district also has their budget published online for your review. You can find out more about your particular CDD budget by going to the district website ( www.districtgov.org ) and finding your particular district.
Dave Fountaine, Vice President