The Glen Rose City Council on Monday voted 4-0 to approve its previously proposed ad valorem tax rate for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
City Council members Chris Bryant, Jack Johnson, Julia Douglas and Johnny Martin voted to approve the tax rate. The fifth member of the City Council, recent appointee Richard Vaughn, was away on vacation.
City Administrator Michael Leamons said the tax rate of 0.384074 cents per $100 of property tax valuation “is the same that has been in place for several years.”
In a column written by Leamons and submitted to the Glen Rose Reporter for publication, he noted that the tax rate has been the same since 2013.
Leamons wrote, “Since voters approved the 1/2 percent property tax relief sales tax in 1987, the highest property tax rate adopted was $0.4857 in 2001. Since then, the rate has declined 26 percent.”
The 2019-2020 budget was previously approved by vote of the City Council, following two public hearings at City Hall. Tuesday’s meeting was open for a final public hearing on the tax rate, but no one chose to speak.
Despite the unanimous vote, the meeting did include some differences of opinion on financial issues.
The item just before the tax rate vote on the agenda list was concerning a proposed increase of 45 cents per month to city residential garbage pickup fee. Bryant made it clear in his comments that he didn’t agree with the increase, which moves the regular monthly rate for solid waste disposal from $9.95 a month to $10.40.
“I don’t think that’s anything that’s going to break anybody’s budget,” Johnson said before the vote.
Douglas and Johnson voted to approve the ordinance and Martin and Bryant voted against the monthly trash pickup increase. Mayor Pam Miller voted for it, breaking the tie.
Word came out of a Glen Rose City Council executive session Monday evening that City Administrator Michael Leamons was given a three-year contract extension at $90,000 per year.
“I think the city is very fortunate to have Michael, and I think the three-year extension is truly lucky for us,” the mayor said. “He’s sharp, and he’s good to work with. He works very hard. I definitely think Michael is a good leader for the city. I know all the employees of the city highly respect and support him.”
Leamons had been named manager of city-owned Oakdale Park in January 2017. He was chosen as interim city manager, in the wake of former City Administrator Chester Nolen and the council agreeing in May 2018 to terminate Nolen’s contract.
Leamons served as both Oakdale’s manager and in the interim role as city administrator until mid-December of last year.
Leamons’ first contract was one year for $80,000, plus $1,000 for each of the months he was also still Oakdale’s manager. Chip Joslin is the Oakdale Park manager now.
The new, three-year contract for Leamons, strictly as city administrator, is for $90,000 per year.
“I appreciate the council’s vote of confidence, and I’m hoping this is signifying that Glen Rose is going to have more continuity in its operations than it has had in recent years,” Leamons told the Glen Rose Reporter on Wednesday.
Leamons noted that he hopes the extension will improve continuity within the city government — which since 2013 has had four city administrators, two interim city administrators (including himself), five city secretaries (plus one interim), and four mayors.
The City Council was notified of the resignation of John Power from the Planning and Zoning Board, which resulted in now having two vacancies. Power’s resignation was accepted — by a 3-0 vote, before Bryant arrived for the meeting. Possible action on voting to name the lone new applicant was postponed until a later meeting.
The city’s Preservation Board is also short by two members, and action on a possible vote to fill those positions was postponed until a later time as well.