The Harker Heights City Council on Tuesday adopted a budget and tax rate for its fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, and it handled a number of zoning changes.

The council also heard from a representative of the Hill Country Transit District, who said the city’s bus service will be cut back, as the city’s budget allotment did not meet the district’s funding request.

After a second public hearing on the issue, the council voted to keep the city’s tax rate at 67.7 cents per $100 valuation of property.

However, because of the added valuation of recently vacant properties being occupied by new businesses and the added ad valorem value of property in the city qualifies as a tax increase under state law, according to City Manager David Mitchell.

“The budget will raise more property taxes than last year’s budget by $314,412 or 2.6 percent,” the memorandum reads. “Of that amount, $251,521 is tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year.” The increased funding will be reflected in fiscal year 2018-2019.

The money raised will service Heights’ debt to the tune of $2,743,300 and will fill general fund coffers with $9,033,900.

The budget did not meet the Hill Country Transit District’s request for $120,000. The Heights council budgeted $40,000 for the transit system, known as The Hop.

HOP Director of Urban Operations Darrell Burtner said the failure to meet the district’s request will result in buses not running at all from 10:35 a.m. through 2:05 p.m. in Harker Heights as well as cutting off the last hour of service — meaning the last bus will run at 5 p.m. instead of 6:30.

Harker Heights has not enjoyed HOP service on Saturdays, but Burtner said Wednesday that the system will end Saturday service systemwide starting Oct. 1.

In other business, the council unanimously approved several zoning changes.

The first involved rezoning a property at 13960 E. Knights Way from a one-family dwelling district to commercial zoning, namely Secondary and Highway Business District.

The property affected is 3.87 acres. The council also gave approval for final plat for a 44-acre tract belonging to the Ortegas at the same location.

Approval also was given to Five Feathers Addition Block One, Lot 2 at 2004 Warriors Path. Finance Director Alberta Barrett said, “This area is what we generally refer to as Comanche Land.”

Council went into executive session to consider naming an alternate municipal judge. They reconvened and announced that current Judge Garland Potvin would be re-appointed. The alternate municipal judge serves in the absence of the sitting Municipal Judge.

The council also awarded a contract for the FM 3481 Water Line Extension Project to B-Corp Utilities. The contract is worth $244, 850.

Also approved was a negotiated settlement between ATMOS Cities Steering Committee and ATMOS Energy Corp., Mid-Tex Division. The issue at hand was existing rates that the first party considered unreasonable.

The council essentially ratified the agreement between the parties.

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