Kerrville City Council members voted unanimous approval of the proposed new city budget and the tax rate to fund that budget, in their regular meeting on Aug. 24 in City Hall.
And despite the item about Certificates of Obligation being a moot point in this meeting, because of the qualifying citizens’ opposing petitions being certified by the city secretary, council got still more oppositional comments from several speakers and by email on proposed funding for a new Public Safety Complex.
One council member called building a new Public Safety complex “a need, not a want;” and another one said this leaves them only property taxes to use to build one, and citizens’ property taxes could increase to do this.
City’s FY22 budget
Council held a public hearing and vote on first reading of the ordinance setting the FY22 city budget. The second and final reading will be Sept. 14, and the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
Overall revenues were listed in the summary as $71,956,982; and overall expenditures of $79,131,548. City Manager E.A. Hoppe said the General Fund and Water Fund are balanced at equal revenues and propose expenditures. And the agenda item description added that expenses exceed revenues in overall other funds primarily due to capital projects that were funded in previous years.
There will be what city officials called “small increases in water and sewer rates,” added funding for streets, and budgeted items for capital projects.
In the public hearing, one citizen asked if these items are one-time or annual expenses; and Hoppe said most are one-time expenses.
This also was a “record vote” item with each councilperson voting individually. After the motion to approve the new budget, all five councilpersons voted yes to approve the new budget.
City’s Tax Rate
The official ordinance authorizing the levy of an annual ad valorem tax and the rate for that tax was included in the agenda for this meeting, and council approved the ordinance on first reading, including the following summary.
The tax rate for the FY2022 proposed budget is $0.5093 per $100 valuation, which, the agenda said, is higher than the “no new revenue tax rate” of $0.4868 but lower than the voter-approval rate of $0.5315.
The agenda said, “If approved the tax rate of $0.5093 will be lower than the FY21 tax rate of $0.5116. This will mark the fourth time in five years that the tax rate will be lowered and the 12th consecutive year the City of Kerrville has maintained the same or lower tax rate (no increase to tax rate).”
City Manager E.A. Hoppe and the financial staff said although this rate is not reduced all the way to a “no new tax revenue rate,” it is reduced from last fiscal year. And they added that the appraisal levels of citizen’s properties determine if each person’s tax bill will increase or decrease.
This was a required “record vote” of council members, and each of the five voted “yes” and approved it unanimously on first reading.
Tranquility Island project
Council approved a Consent Agenda item for a construction agreement with Eveready Electric for the Tranquility Island “Light the Island” project in the amount of $114,640.03.
The city received two bids on this project, and this was the lower of the two.
Council members said they gladly would approve this project to be paid from community sponsorships and donations, through the city coffers.
Repairs to Library facility
Three agenda items concerned needed repairs at the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library building and property downtown.
First, council was asked – and agreed - to approve a construction agreement with M&C Fonseca Construction Co., Inc., for the library’s campus stair replacement project.
The project will repair and replace the damaged stairs from the back of the property down the riverbank and to the footbridge that crosses the Guadalupe River to Louise Hays Park.
Second, they were asked to reject all bids received recently for repair and replacement of the library’s HVAC and lighting. City Manager E. A. Hoppe told them the bids city staff received were either incomplete or “well outside the city’s estimates” of costs to have this work done.
Third, council considered a construction agreement with Trade-Mark-Brown to do that HVAC replacement for $283,200, and approved that 5-0. One councilperson said this needs to be fixed now, as the system has completely failed.
City, EIC funding agreement
Council members approved as part of the Consent Agenda the annual Kerrville Economic Improvement Corporation budget, and the accompanying Administrative Services Agreement by which some city staff provide administration help for the EIC’s activities.
The proposed budget for the EIC was listed with a beginning cash balance of $2,457,240 for FY22; total proposed expenditures of $1,607,369; net revenue of $2,625,172; and an ending cash balance of $5,082,412.
City funding agreement, KEDC
As part of the Consent Agenda, council was asked to consider a funding agreement for the city’s share of support for the Kerr Economic Development Corporation.
After some explanations from Executive Director Gil Salinas, council voted to approve the city’s portion of stakeholder funding at $62,500 for the coming fiscal year.
Other stakeholders are the Economic Improvement Corporation, Kerr County and the Kerrville Public Utility Board. The majority of the funding comes from the EIC which also collects a small but ongoing portion of sales taxes coming back into the city.
Zoning change requests
On second and final reading, council members unanimously approved two zoning changes, one for property at 3210 Riverside Dr. and Loop 534, changing it from single-family residential to a general commercial zoning district.
The other one was for a property at 501 Florence St., changing that property from a residential transition zoning district to a neighborhood commercial zoning district. This also was a 5-0 vote.