City OKs first reading of new $50.2 million budget

By Matt Ward —

City of Fredericksburg officials expect to bolster services while decreasing property taxes over the next year, according to the latest projections in their 2014-2015 budget proposal.

City Manager Kent Myers presented the proposal during a regular meeting of the Fredericksburg City Council Monday evening. The proposal would add nearly $12 million to next year’s budget, jumping from $38.4 million to $50.2 million in total spending.

Featured in the budget are $10.3 million in capital expenditures, including a new cell at the city landfill, street improvements on Brehmer Lane as well as $5.8 million in water and wastewater improvement projects funded from a $6.5 million bond project approved in 2013.

The budget also includes a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for all full-time city employees, a 1.5 percent merit-based raise for qualifying employees in January and five new positions — police sergeant, mechanic, water crew worker, sewer crew worker and building inspector.

Weather conditions have prevented Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Golf Course from meeting its projections this year and the budget includes a $245,200 transfer from the general fund to help the course.

Despite holding a public hearing on the proposal, no residents spoke on the budget, which is expected to be approved by the council during its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 2 following the Labor Day holiday.

Myers said the recent charter amendment limiting enterprise fund transfers had no impact on the development of this year’s budget.

The city is continuing to pursue legal action to determine how the amendment affects pre-existing bond obligations, although a lawsuit on the matter has yet to be filed.

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