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City Council approves FY 2012-2013 Budget

Teague City Council members approved the FY 2012-2013 budget by a 4-1 vote at their last Council meeting without raising property tax rates for citizens and even without raising taxes to the ?effective tax rate? which generates the same amount of tax dollars as the previous year when property values decline. To make the budget work, council agreed to various increase in permit fees, a $1 increase in the base water rate each month, and a change to employee health benefits.

?It?s not my philosophy to impose any type of tax increase,? said City Administrator Vince DiMaggio, to council members at the August 23rd meeting. DiMaggio said in preparing the budget for next year, two key factors were taken into consideration, First, property valuations dropped from $114 million to $113 million, resulting in less city revenue from property taxes. Second, sales tax revenue dropped by 13% from the previous year ? which was directly in-line with staff projections made last year.

DiMaggio said that because less money would be coming in, difficult decisions were made pertaining to reduction of some service levels. The FY2012-2013 budget achieves a cumulative reduction of 11%, according to DiMaggio. Not counting employee salary and benefit obligations, the operational reduction is 25%. ?It?s important to realize that this is as austere of a budget that can be produced while still providing key services without raising property taxes. Without the development of a concerted strategy to grow and retain a commercial sales tax base, property tax increases will be a certainty in years to come.?

Information presented at the meeting shows that general fund revenues are projected to be $1,751,898, which includes ad valorem taxes, sales taxes, and the various utility franchise fees. Declines in both property values and sales taxes, the projected revenues are $160,702 less than last year, approximately a 10 percent decrease.

General fund departments taking budget hits, which include both staffing and operational costs are as follows: Administration, -10%; Library, -15%; Museum, -3%; City Council, -20%; Public Works, -13%, Police, -5%.

Enterprise fund departments taking budget hits, which include both staffing and operational costs are as follows: Sewer Department, -11%; and Water Department, -12%.

Voting to approve the budget were Aldermen David Huffman, Garlan Steed, Chris Nickleberry, and Terry Gibson. Voting against was Alderman Mark Hargis.

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