LAMPASAS — A special meeting Thursday between City Council and city staff members helped outline specifics of the proposed 2013-2014 fiscal budget.

The meeting also served as the first for Councilman Mike White, who was sworn in to fill a vacant seat prior to the budget workshop.

The initial budget review process included an overview of the current operating funds position, budget organization and highlight modifications.

City Manager Finley deGraffenried identified the “different buckets of money” from the two types of funds available to the city — the general and proprietary/enterprise accounts. The starting point he presented to the group consists of a $73,000 deficit and surplus funds of $230,000.

“We wanted to bring you a balanced budget, and we feel very good about the condition of this budget,” deGraffenried said. “If you asked me to balance this budget, it could be done in a matter of seconds.”

Council members were asked to fill out a survey earlier in the year related to the scope and quality of municipal services, and staffers used the results to identify the city’s current and future needs.

Focal points included increasing economic development, improved upkeep of city vehicles and buildings, more police patrol visibility, more positive law enforcement contacts within the community, continued nuisance abatement by supporting code enforcement, additional public works planning and addressing personnel issues.

Collectively, the council agreed more time is necessary for new Public Works Director Phil Andreas to get settled into his position. Since starting July 2, Andreas has spent considerable time assessing the department.

“I think there’s an opportunity to work more with the (Capital Improvement Projects) committee, and get input and feedback on what our ideas and opportunities are,” Andreas told the group.

DeGraffenried said the goal is to maintain the same ad valorem tax rate of 39 cents per $100 valuation.

“If our valuation increases, then we’ll have additional services to provide,” he said. “What we’re recommending is that your tax rate stay the same. We’ve also made some assumptions that we hope will have a positive increase in our sales tax rate.”

Members give feedback on proposed budget

After the staff’s presentation, council members gave their input on issues to be addressed before the final budget is adopted.

Councilman Christian Toups said he would like to see the city host more golf tournaments at Hancock Park Municipal Golf Course.

“I’m more into trying to generate revenue and look at areas to grow economic development,” Toups said. “We lose a lot of golf tournaments because we don’t have the facilities to accommodate a place to cook, to eat, etc.”

Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harrison would like to see more street repairs and continue focusing on infrastructure improvements. He noted these improvements have been on previous council agendas, but have often been pushed to future years.

“I feel good about the budget now. The main thing is to find out we don’t need to go back to the drawing board and start over. We’ll continue to work on it,” deGraffenried said.

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