By Justin Cox
Killeen Daily Herald
NOLANVILLE – The City Council approved its annual budget Thursday, reporting its projected revenues and expenses to be $1,127,865 for the 2006-07 fiscal year, a 26.6 percent increase in the general fund over last year.
Councilman Cecil Carroll voted against the budget, which passed 4-1.
Much of the $299,755 in additional funds can be attributed to revenues from recently completed land developments, leading to a 53.9 percent increase in property tax revenues over the past year.
The resulting balance was used to increase budgets for the fire, public works, courts, city hall and police departments. Nolanville police received the largest increase, adding additional officers to its force.
Councilman Donnie Rohloff applauded the work of the council and city staff.
"I think we've really outdone ourselves," Rohloff said of the budget. "We have two new police officers, plus we have a new administration with the fire department. Some good, hard-working people have already showed how much they want to work with the council."
Rohloff cited a new lumber company and new developments signs that the city is moving in the right direction.
Mayor Carolyn Sterling noted the work of City Treasurer Vikki Brown and the instrumental role she played in getting this year's budget finalized.
As the lone opposition to the budget, Carroll pointed out that he did not agree with the $420,000 budgeted for court fees.
Last year, the city budgeted $141,456 and came up just short of that figure, finishing the year with $130,859 in revenue.
Carroll said he believes that expecting a $290,000 increase is unrealistic.
"It's wish money," Carroll said. "The council is looking to spend money we don't have."
Nolanville resident Jerry Whittkop is worried that police officers might feel pressured to increase the amount of citations they give.
I don't understand. Now the revised proposal is $420,000," Whittkop said. "Are they going to institute a quota? My concern is where they're going to get that."
Rohloff indicated that the figure is just an estimate, but will include fines from other departments, including animal control.
Councilman Noah VanKirk was contacted regarding the budget, but said he had no comments. Repeated attempts to contact Mayor Sterling were unsuccessful.
The City Council will meet today at 3 p.m. at the J.W. Sims Community Center to hold a hearing and vote on the 2006-07 tax levy.
Contact Justin Cox at firstname.lastname@example.org