Budget shows city priorities
This month the Fredericksburg City Council approved the new city budget which begins on Oct. 1. I wanted to share the budget’s major highlights since many of our programs and services impact citizens on a daily basis.
The 2017 budget was approved following a three-month process that included five work sessions, two public hearings on the tax rate, one budget public hearing and numerous budget meetings involving city departments.
The major reason that this process is so involved is because of its importance. This is the primary policy tool used by the council to set the level of programs and services that the city will provide during the coming year.
It also sets the amount of taxes and fees that will be charged to local businesses and residents. In addition, the council uses the budget to approve funding for new major projects.
The total approved city budget for the coming year is $43,780,198, which represents about $2.7 million less than the current budget. This includes all city services including police, fire, EMS, parks, electric, water, sanitation and wastewater services.
One of the reasons for the budget decrease is that several major capital improvements were completed in the past year. In addition, the city purchased several different properties last year for the future expansion of city facilities.
Taxes and fees
The budget includes a property tax increase from $.2313 per $100 in valuation to .2400 per $100 in valuation.
Over the past three years the city has reduced the tax rate each year. This year it was decided that an increase was needed to increase our fund balance and expand and improve several city programs and services as outlined below.
With this tax increase the city will still have one of the lowest property tax rates of any municipality in the state.
One of the primary reasons that we are able to maintain such a low tax rate is due to the sales taxes that are generated both from local citizens and visitors. Sales tax revenues that support general fund services generate about twice as much as property tax revenues.
In terms of utility fees, the budget does not include any increases in monthly residential or commercial rates for electric, water or wastewater services. It also does not include any increases in fees for sanitation services. The city is able to offer a very high quality of services in these areas while offering some of the best rates of any community in Texas.
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