• July 26, 2014

Budget, property tax increase on agenda at Cove public hearing

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Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 9:14 am, Fri Aug 2, 2013.

COPPERAS COVE — One person spoke about the city’s $52.8 million proposed 2013-2014 fiscal year budget Thursday during a public hearing. At the same meeting, the council officially proposed a nearly 2 cent property tax rate increase.

Resident Jeremy Tate asked the council what it had been doing to decrease expenditures rather than continuing to raise taxes.

The city has “trimmed a lot of positions,” City Manager Andrea Gardner said. When Gardner took the helm, she said there were more than 300 positions. The city now has about 280 employees.

Staff cuts were achieved through attrition, and the city outsourced a number of services that could be done cheaper and better in the private sector, she said.

Councilman Kenn Smith welcomed Tate’s question.

“I would like to thank Mr. Tate for coming up and speaking because that happens all to seldom,” he said, referring to sparse crowds at many public hearings.

The proposed 2013-2014 budget estimated general fund revenues at $14.9 million and expenses at $16.1 million. The water and sewer fund projected revenues of $11.6 million and expenses of $11 million. The solid waste fund showed about $3.3 million in revenue with close to the same for expenditures. The golf course fund project revenues at about $412,000 and $533,000 in expenses.

Another $21.4 million in revenue is allocated to other funds that have $21.8 million in expenditures, which includes about $20.1 million for debt services.

To help balance the 2013-2014 budget, the council approved the proposal of 77.74 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The 77.74-cent rate should generate about $9.4 million in revenue for the city.

Of the proposed rate, 52.29 cents will be allocated for maintenance and operations and generate about $6.5 million in revenue; 25.45 cents will go toward paying the city’s debt, a $2.9 million cost.

The proposed rate is an increase of 1.74 cents from the city’s current 76 cents per $100 per assessed property value.

“If the resident had a $100,000 home with no exemptions, (the new rate) would be an increase of $17.40,” said Ryan Haverlah, city budget director.

The council also set two public hearings and the final vote for the property tax rate increase for Aug. 20, Aug. 27 and Sept. 3.

A second public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Aug. 27, with final approval of the budget Sept. 3.

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