City budget may see 5% increase for 2019
(Editor’s note: Last week’s city council story budget section contained several errors, which we seek to correct here. We apologize for the errors.)
Fredericksburg City Council discussed — not approved — a proposed 5-percent increase in its budget, along with a possible penny tax increase, at last week’s council meeting.
City Manager Kent Myers proposed a budget of $50,140,000, a jump of roughly 5 percent over last year’s fiscal budget of $47,642,000.
The council is considering a potential water bond project of $18.5 million for fiscal 2019, to be funded by a future increase in utility rates, over a period of time, not with the property tax.
In a “budget overview” slide during the presentation, the water bond proposal amount was added to the budget total, which should have been amortized over a period of years.
The council proposed a 22.83-cent tax rate (per $100 valuation) – up from 22.56 cents. The proposed rate may change following upcoming public hearings. Those hearings were triggered when the proposed tax rate was above the effective tax rate of 21.67 cents, due to rising property valuations.
Two hearings for the proposed tax rate will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29 and Wednesday, Sept. 5 at City Hall in the fire training room upstairs.
• Budget changes, as stated in last week’s story, include: The addition of three full-time firefighter/paramedic positions, one full-time parks maintenance worker and a part-time Fort Martin Scott employee. Two new employees for a vegetation management program could be approved by the city later this year.
• A 2-percent cost-of-living increase and a 2-percent merit increase for qualified employees.
The budget includes allocations of $570,375 from county land sale proceeds for park improvements at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park and Oak Crest Park.
The budget proposal is based, in part, on increased fees for monthly water rates, storm water, development services and fire/EMS departments.
There are no increases in electric, sanitation, sewer, parks golf, health, animal control or other user fees.
There has been no decision on the timing of the water bond, which will be discussed at next Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
The water bond funds may be used to install a third water infrastructure line along U.S. 290 East to feed residences and businesses in Fredericksburg. The project would provide a redundancy to the existing two lines, located along Goehmann Lane and Old San Antonio Road. If one of the two existing lines were to fail, the new line could provide service without disruption.
City officials on Monday said water infrastructure was a top priority.