The Glen Rose City Council on Monday adopted the city budget for 2021, and also voted unanimously to approve a 6% increase in water rates — something that had not been raised since 2011.
That’s according to City Administrator Michael Leamons, who noted that it would mean approximately an extra $2.40 per month, on average, for Glen Rose residents.
Next, in the meeting scheduled for Sept. 14, the City Council will consider approval of the overall tax rate for the 2021 fiscal year. The state requires that cities must have their budget approved prior to voting on the tax rate, Leamons said.
While water rates generally aren’t raised each year my most small cities like Glen Rose, Leamons said, "Every few years would be more normal. It’s unusual to go that long," without an increase.
Leamons pointed out that city residents now have the benefit of homestead exemptions, and said that the water increase will "be really insignificant."
On June 8, the Council voted to adopt a 20% homestead exemption for homeowners of all ages in Glen Rose, and to increase the additional homestead exemption for those older than 65 from $25,000 to $50,000.
In a newspaper column published at that time, Leamons wrote, "The owner of a $200,000 homestead who is younger than 65 should see a reduction in what the city portion of their tax bill would otherwise have been of approximately $150, while an owner over 65 should see a reduction of about $220."
Leamons said the City Council had talked about a possible 3% increase in the trash pickup rate, but that idea was not approved.
This marked an unusually early vote on the city’s budget. The deadline for getting that done comes at the end of September. Getting it done this early, Leamons said, was a "big landmark," adding, "It’s about as early as you can (approve a budget). A lot of cities don’t get it done until September."
The Council members also voted 5-0 to approve the contract for the sale of Oakdale Park to a Hico couple, Philip Vasquez and his wife Luci Digiorgio. They previously submitted the highest bid ($1,500,050) for the city-owned park.
Leamons noted that the transaction can be finalized once the survey title policy and their private inspections are completed. He noted that this is known as a "feasibility" period, in which any major unforeseen problems might be discovered.