HARKER HEIGHTS — The City Council Tuesday unanimously adopted the 2012-13 fiscal budget, which includes no changes to the tax rate and no increases in water, sewer or drainage fees.

The Harker Heights budget maintains the current tax rate of 67 cents per $100 property valuation. Overall, total revenues for the new year are budgeted at $33.8 million while expenses are budgeted at $42.7 million.

Sam Murphey, Place 2, asked why the budget’s bottom line seemed to reflect a deficit.

“We have plenty of money coming in, so how do we end up $9 million short?” he asked.

Finance director Alberta Barrett explained that the expenses include proceeds from the capital improvement fund — basically, money the city borrowed in past years but hadn’t spent.

“We’re spending money that we borrowed in prior years, and we’re not borrowing any new money in the capital improvement fund,” Barrett said. “We are spending more in that fund than we are receiving additional for this year … that money is sitting there and we plan on spending it this year. It’s already allocated to projects, we’re just trying to finish those projects.”

City Manager Steve Carpenter described it as “leftover money” from 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the extension of Carpenter’s contract as city manager through Sept. 30, 2014. Carpenter’s contract stipulates that he receive the same salary adjustments as all other city employees plus an additional 2 percent raise. For the new fiscal year, Carpenter’s pay increase will total 5 percent.

Contact Kristi Johnson at kristij@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7548

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