For the fifth straight fiscal year, Harker Heights officials are proposing maintaining the same tax rate of 67.7 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Finance Director Alberta Barrett said although the appraisal district calculates the effective rate at 69 cents to generate the same money as last year with the same properties as last year, new property values this year allow the rate to hold steady.
“Keeping the current rate allows us to generate the enough revenue and support the same level of service to citizens,” Barrett said.
Certified property values are at about $1.59 billion, or an estimated $84 million more than last year’s $1.51 billion, according to city documents.
The ad valorem taxes will account for $7.84 million of the city’s maintenance and operation revenue.
Overall, general fund revenues are budgeted at $18.99 million for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, with property taxes the main source. Franchise fees are expected to account for $1.3 million, and sales tax revenue is budget at $5.9 million, or 3 percent more than last year.
“With the new Neighborhood Wal-Mart and new business additions, we should meet the budget,” Barrett said.
General fund expenditures are budget at $18.92 million and includes a 3 percent salary adjustment for salary and benefits costs at $13.56 million. Barrett said employee expenses include new positions in the police department and a new position for the fire department.
The budget reflects a projected $8.44 million fund balance and exceeds the three-month operating requirement of $4.63 million, according to documents.
The budget also does not propose increasing sanitation fees for residents.
Utility fund revenues are budgeted at $9.42 million. Expenses are budgeted at $9.41 million, leaving a projected fund balance of about $4.53 million, which is more than the three-month operating requirement of $1.72 million, according to documents. Drainage fund revenues are budgeted at $765,100 and expenditures at $759,700, leaving a fund balance of $74,694.
“The budget provides continued resources to provide high quality services to our citizens while providing for the needs of the employees and helping us with the recruitment and retention of our employees,” City Manager David Mitchell said.
A public hearing on the budget and tax rate is scheduled for Aug. 26, and adoption of both are set for Sept. 9.