With the budget-shaping process having been previously completed in workshops, the Glen Rose City Council voted on Monday to adopt the city budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, then voted to ratify the tax rate.
Both votes were a unanimous 5-0 count, with each council member — Linda James, Robert Marquez, Dennis Moore, Doug Mitchell and Sandra Ramsey — voting yes.
The vote (city ordinance No. 17.09.11A) confirmed that “the property tax rate be increased by the adoption of a tax rate of $0.384074 on each $100 valuation of property, which is effectively a 7.2345 percent increase in the tax rate over the effective tax rate.”
The effective tax rate for 2017 is $0.3606940, which would bring in the same amount of revenues the city received in fiscal year 2016-2017.
“We did not change the tax rate. We have not changed it since 2013,” City Manager Chester Nolen stated after Monday’s meeting was adjourned by first-year Mayor Sue Oldenburg. “Evaluations go up to give us more money. The effective rate is the rate that would produce the same amount as last time. The rollback rate would be 8 percent above the effective rate, that could trigger a rollback election.”
Also during Monday’s meeting, Nolen reported to the council that the city is in the black — with a surplus of just under $1 million in the general fund balance.
“We received more revenue than was projected for the current year,” Nolen explained. “It nets out to about $969,000.
“We have been keeping the council appraised all along. Our expenses have consistently been less than what we budgeted. Revenues came along that were better than what we anticipated.”
Oldenburg, completing her first time around as part of the City Council’s budget process, said she was pleased with the work turned in at every level.
“You have to have good employees,” Oldenburg said. “I think we live in an awesome community. Fortunately this year we had revenue that exceeded expectations, and our expenditures were less than projected.”
Nolen added, “This is a very good budget. The Council worked very hard on it. They answered questions and resolved issues, so it worked out very well this year.”
The city’s total General Fund expenditures are projected to be $2,179,722, with revenues projected at $2,021,894 for a deficit of $157,878 to be funded out of the Fund Balance.
Ramsey noted during the meeting that she thought this was the “best budget presentation” she has seen since she first joined the City Council in 2011.
The council approved, 5-0, to approve a $5,000 grant request for the Texas Bronc Riders Association. The Texas Bronc Riders Association Finals, usually held in Fort Worth, is being moved this year to the Somervell County Expo Center. The Sept. 30 event will be featured in a segment that will be shown on the Ride TV network.
“This is just a great opportunity for Glen Rose to get more exposure throughout the United States,” said Kelly Harris, director of the Glen Rose Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Council voted, 5-0, to accept the resignation of Carmen Lewis from the Glen Rose Economic Development Corporation Board.
Because several members will be unavailable for the next regular City Council meeting date (Oct. 9), the Council voted to change next month’s meeting to Oct. 16 instead.
SOLID WASTE PICKUP ISSUE
In a special Town Hall meeting on Sept. 7, the City Council opened up the microphone for public comments on the ongoing effort to decide which service to sign with for solid waste pickup starting Jan. 1, 2018 after the current contract with Waste Connections of Texas expires.
The key point of contention among the nine people who came to the podium to speak — all Glen Rose business owners — was that the the city is entering into negotiations with Knox Waste Services of Abilene for once-a-week trash pickup instead of twice a week.
City Manager Chester Nolen said that the city has had dependability issues with Waste Connections of Texas, which was represented at the meeting by Manager Adam Sharp of Stephenville.
“We had had issues with Waste Connections with (not) picking up, and broken down equipment,” Nolen stated. “Sometimes they don’t get it done. They had lots of issues that last couple of years.”
Sharp told the Glen Rose Reporter that Waste Connections currently handles 12 tons of residential solid waste collections on each of the two trash pickup days per week (24 tons per week). The company is picking up approximately 40 tons per week from commercial sites in Glen Rose.
Sharp said that the company has worked through its issues, which were happening under previous ownership.
“We did have some equipment issues,” Sharp said. “The new company has given us every resource — two brand new trucks. We got a new shipment of commercial Dumpsters. My whole residential fleet is all brand new now.”
Nolen said he believes once-a-week pickup would be adequate, but each of the business owners who spoke during their allotted 90 seconds at the podium insisted that they have to have trash collection twice a week to avoid problems with overflow and other issues.
The City Council will be considering all of the options and make a decision in time to have an agreement in place before the current contract expires on Jan. 1, 2018. No date for a possible vote on the topic has been set.