• December 25, 2014

Cove mulls spending cuts, water rate hike

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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:45 pm

COPPERAS COVE — The municipal budget was front-and-center Tuesday at the Copperas Cove City Council’s pre-meeting workshop and during the regular meeting as well.

Cove’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 came in about $5 million in the red, so hard choices are required.

Although Tuesday’s meeting wasn’t the final say what what cuts will be made, it went a long way toward explaining in further detail how cuts were decided and how much would be cut — though the community will have to wait until the July 24 meeting for a truly in-depth explanation in terms of overall cuts and savings.

“We will have a meeting to show the exact numbers, but for now know that we could not balance the budget on the backs of the employees,” City Manager Andrea Gardner said. “It has to come from more than just them.”

Among the proposed cuts is the youth tackle football program, but the Cove school district, Joseph Pace of Parks and Recreation and coaches all have tried to save the program.

Still, Ryan Haverlah, the budget director and assistant to the city manager, said that unless something happens soon, tackle football is gone.

“Unless we get the funds, we will have to cut the football program,” he said. “And it won’t be back unless we can come up with a consistent measure to ensure the funds.”

Gardner added: “Joseph Pace is in contact with several parties to try and save the program. We will keep you posted as the information comes to us.”

Youth sports were hit hard, but the police department was hit for about $416,000 in proposed cuts, mostly in overtime, vehicle maintenance and fuel.

The budget also contained increases in costs to residents in terms of solid waste and water distribution in an attempt to boost revenue.

If approved, base residential water and sewer rates will increase to $39.95 in fiscal year 2015 from $36.80 this fiscal year.

“Water will not get cheaper,” Gardner said. “We have to accept the fact that the prices will only go up.”

The next budget hearing will be at 6 p.m. July 24 at the Economic Development Center with a public hearing to follow on July 31.

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