• November 23, 2014

Lampasas council evaluates projects

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Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:54 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Joshua Winata

The Cove Herald

With required flood repairs still in progress and major developments in the works, the Lampasas city budget was stretched thin trying to accommodate the multiple priorities set before the city.

The Lampasas City Council on Tuesday evaluated capital improvement projects during the third of four workshops to deliberate on the proposed 2007-08 fiscal year budget. The workshop examined the funds for water and wastewater, the airport, debt service and capital improvements.

The priority list for the city’s water and wastewater projects was a sensitive subject that upset at least one council member.

Councilman John Cole expressed concern that with so many pressing projects on the city’s plate, smaller commitments seemed to be postponed indefinitely. Public Works Director Randy Clark suggested updating outdated reports and studies in order to prioritize projects.

“I’ll take my hat off as a council member, and I will say as a citizen, you’re studying it to death and not performing. You’re just acting like a bureaucrat,” Cole said to Clark. “I understand we’re making headway, but I hate to see us keep going out and saying ‘We’re going to do this, and we’re going to do that,’ and we never do.”

Stoldt explained that the city was forced to budget a large amount of available funds for installing water and sewer lines to Lampasas Independent School District’s new high school, which is being constructed following the passage of the $48.85 million bond in May, and to the proposed Lampasas County Jail, both of which need to be done by the end of 2008. These obligations limit the city’s ability to pursue additional projects, he said.

“Projects that were really outside our control have been thrust on us, the school and the jail being two good examples. We can’t ask to postpone those; we’ve got to keep up with those projects,” Stoldt said. “Priorities have been usurped by other entities that we have to support.”

Other urgent water and wastewater projects include installing water and wastewater lines to the new business park, athletic complex and Crider Lane.

Council members also had to decide whether include $400,000 in the budget for general utility improvements, an item proposed due to requests from St. Mary’s Catholic Church to install a sewer line. The church is currently served by five septic tanks.

Council members agreed that the project was not an immediate priority, but several expressed an desire to have funds available to install the line in the near future, especially if the highly valued vacant lot adjacent to the church were to sell. The item was not placed in the budget, but council members have an opportunity to add it before accepting the final budget.

The city’s budget indicates $10 million in revenue set aside for capital improvement projects. The funds are are coming from five sources: two Community Development Block Grants, a debt issuance, and funds created for the new sports park and golf course damage.

Aside from the 2005-06 block grant, used to replace more than $1 million of water lines in the eastern part of the city, the revenue sources for Lampasas’ capital improvement projects have been awarded or created only this year, starting with the a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grant for the athletic complex secured in March. The certificates of obligation were awarded in April, and the funds for the golf course were set aside last month.

The City Council will conduct a fourth and final budget workshop today at 5 p.m., followed by two public hearings later this month.

According to Lampasas property tax calculations, the 2007-08 fiscal year tax rate will increase by about one-third of a cent to 37 cents per $100 valuation.

“Four of these five (revenue sources) are very new. You’ve got $9 million worth of capital improvements coming up that we’ve barely scratched the surface on,” City Manager Michael Stoldt said.

Those projects include a sports complex on Farm-to-Market 580, new airport T-hangars, an electrical substation, and renovations on the flood-damaged Hanna Springs Swimming Pool, to name a few.

The City Council will conduct a fourth and final budget workshop today at 5 p.m., followed by two public hearings later this month.

According to Lampasas property tax calculations, the 2007-08 fiscal year tax rate will increase by about one-third of a cent to 37 cents per $100 valuation.

Contact Joshua Winata at jpwinata@kdhnews.com or call (254) 547-6481

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