The Kyle Report

The Kyle Report

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

City manager’s proposed $74. 8 million budget to seek half-cent decrease in property tax rate

City Manager Scott Sellers will inform the City Council Saturday morning he is proposing a $74.8 million budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 that includes a half-cent reduction in the property tax rate, a 4.02 percent increase in sanitation fees, but no increase in water rates, wastewater rates, stormwater fees (or any other fees) and the proposed addition of three new positions.

Sellers’s proposal will call for a tax rate of $.5698 per $100 property valuation. Of course, his proposed 0.8 percent reduction in the property tax rate will most certainly be more than offset by projected increases in property valuations. Those certified valuations were supposed to be issued by the appraisal district yesterday, but the district informed city officials today it will now release those numbers Friday. Sellers’s proposed budget does, in fact, forecast a 12.45 percent increase in property tax revenue during the next fiscal year even with the proposed rate decrease.

However, this new budget has a far more realistic forecast this year when it comes to sales tax increases — 2.86 percent — a far cry from the double-digit projections of the last few years, projections that haven’t come close to how much has been collected. Through this month, the city’s sales tax collections are $212,624.51 below what was projected in the current budget.

A new franchise agreement with Pedernales Electric will more than double the revenue the city receives over the former agreement — $1.125 million under the new deal compared to $532,000 from the previous one.

The three new positions Sellers will be seeking are for building inspections, engineering services and municipal court.

The City Council begins discussions on Sellers’s proposed budget when it is officially presented at a specially called council meeting scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday (and, I am assuming, a meeting Spectrum cable customers can watch live in their homes on Channel 10). The council also plans to host public hearings on the budget and proposed tax rates at 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 and Aug 22. It will approve a budget on first reading on Aug. 29 and adopt it on second reading Sept. 5.

"The budget was created first with the needs and desires of the citizens of Kyle," Sellers said in a prepared message he plans on delivering to the council Saturday. "These priorities were ascertained via the annual household survey and at the direction of council. The long-term needs of the city also directed much of the budget creation. The priorities contained in the recently adopted water and wastewater models, as well as the transportation master plan, are made evident in the five-year capital improvements plan.

"Staff has analyzed the effect of current and future growth on the city's infrastructure, especially in light of the city's recent 10 square mile annexation," he continued. "Understanding the extent of this growth and build-out has allowed staff to right-size major arterials and trunk lines, appropriately place and size water and wastewater infrastructure, correctly phase wastewater treatment plant expansions, acquire necessary road right of way, develop plans to address flooding, create the adequate amount of recreational opportunities, and plan for future staffing needs.

"We are in an unprecedented place and time in Kyle's development," the city manager’s budget message concluded. "With over 47,000 anticipated units planned over the next 20 years, it is imperative that the city lay the appropriate foundation for this inevitable growth. This budget is a major step toward this objective."

Sellers listed the following as the highlights of his proposed budget:
  • Focus on funding much needed infrastructure improvements (CIP),
  • Maintain all current city programs and services
  • Property tax rate reduction of $0.0050 per $100/AV from $0.5748 to $0.5698
  • No change in utility rates; water, wastewater or storm drainage.
  • Funding provided for council initiatives including veterans' memorial ($10,000), community health, 1st year on us (tax rebate), sidewalk repairs ($50,000), dog park ($50,000), recreation pavilion ($250,000), community gardens ($11,730), skate/splash park ($130,000) and beautification projects.
  • Wastewater treatment plant expansion
  • General Fund contribution for wastewater treatment plant expansion to reduce debt issuance
  • Kyle Vista Park infrastructure improvements
  • Gateway and wayfinding signage ($250,000)
  • Police body/vehicle camera system
  • Equipment for public access TV channel
  • Elimination of transfer to General Fund from Wastewater Utility
  • Three new positions (building inspector, court clerk, & engineer-in-training)

Among the 2018 expenses in Sellers's five-year CIP plan are:
  • $500,000 specifically devoted to "street improvement and upgrades"
  • $100,000 for the quiet zone zones design/construction at Center and South streets;
  • $150,000 for repairs on Windy Hill Road between Indian Paintbrush and Purple Mountain;
  • $250,000 for relocating above ground utilities underground, mostly in the downtown area;
  • $1 million for Phase 1 of Kyle Vista Park to be located near Science Hall Elementary
  • $2,46 million to pay the city’s share of the ARWA (formerly HCPUA) water delivery project
  • $300,000 for miscellaneous water line upgrades and improvements
  • $500,000 for miscellaneous wastewater line upgrades and improvements
  • $1.4 million in engineering costs and $1 million in construction costs for the needed expansion of the city’s wastewater treatment plant
  • $12,96 million for additional wastewater projects such as interceptors, lift stations and general upgrades
  • $765,000 for repairs on .6 mile of Kyle Crossing, northward from Kohlers.

The opening of a couple of new hotels in Kyle is presumably the reason behind a forecast in the proposed budget of a hefty 45.53 percent increase in Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax revenues.

The proposed budget also includes an allowance for a 10 percent increase in medical insurance costs.


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