The Killeen City Council on Tuesday night approved a $235 million operating budget for the next fiscal year — a budget that will rely more heavily upon property tax revenue than the current budget.
The budget’s approval came with little discussion at the end of the board’s regular meeting at City Hall. Though more tax revenue will be used, the council maintained a tax rate of 74.28 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
“It was a very conservative budget to start with and we felt that was the best thing to do in this economy and the uncertainty with Fort Hood,” City Manager Glenn Morrison said.
The approved budget draws more than $2.4 million of new revenue from property tax, of which roughly $1.4 million is raised from new property built in the past year.
Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone motioned for the budget’s approval, which was seconded by Councilman Jared Foster. It was then approved unanimously, with Councilman Steve Harris absent from the meeting.
The council then approved the property tax rate, with Councilman Jonathan Okray the lone dissenter. Okray had previously suggested the city adopt the effective tax rate, which would have lowered the current tax rate while maintaining the same amount of revenue as the current, expiring fiscal year rate.
“I wanted the effective tax rate,” Okray said after the meeting. “If not the effective tax rate, then something to where we’re giving the citizens back some of their money and still keeping a 25 percent fund balance.”
A median value household of $114,600 will pay roughly $851 in property taxes, about $14 more than at the effective tax rate.
Though more revenue will be raised through property taxes, the operating budget, which will begin on Oct. 1, is $6.5 million less than the previous year.
The city manager said many new costs in the budget arose from increases in health insurance costs. The budget also creates 23 new positions at a cost of $1.6 million.
The council also approved the hiring of a new executive director of human resources Tuesday. The city hired Roshanda Smiley, who worked previously as the director of public administration for the city of Duluth, Minn.