by Tim Fleischer
Public hearings on the Budget and Proposed Tax Rate will be 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5 and Sept. 12. Aldermen will vote on the Budget and Proposed Tax Rate at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19
Mayor Skip Blancett filed the Proposed 2019-20 Budget with Bell County on Aug. 9, The general operating budget is 20% higher than the 2018-19 budget at $1.3 million.
Aldermen will discuss the budget at their Aug. 15 meeting and set dates for Public Hearings on the Budget and Tax Rate.
The budget has a proposed tax rate of $0.6135 per $100 valuation, slightly lower than the 2018 tax rate of $0.6276. Despite the lower rate, it will generate more revenues to the Village. Total net taxable values for the Village increased to $246,6 million compared to the total net taxable values of $233.1 million, an increase of about 6 percent.
Property taxes will generate $395,238 in general operating revenues and $758,804 in debt service revenues.
Sales taxes will be budgeted at almost 25 percent higher for 2019 than 2018. The proposed budget anticipates $490,000 in sales tax revenues.
Other revenue sources include franchise fees of $226,000, up five percent from 2018, $45,320 in permits and fees, driven by building fees of $36,970, $23,150 in services and $0,500 in fines and forfeitures.
The general operating budget will have the following departmental expenditures:
• $472,708 in administrative costs, including $234,564 in personnel costs.
• Developmental services of $96,886, including $81,387 in personnel costs.
• Public Safety Department costs of $533,214 including $40,00 contract to Salado VFD and $386,928 in police personnel costs.
• Public Works Departmental costs of $47,072, $44,789 in personnel.
• Parks Department Costs of $8,670.
• Street Department Costs of $180,650, including $130,000 in capital outlay for streets, Main Street improvements and other capital outlay costs.
The Hotel Occpancy Tax budget is proposed at $227,000, principally funded by HOT taxes.
Top HOT expenses are these: Personnel, $103,4017.25; Visitor center lease, $18,204; Marketing, $70,000, and Arts, $21,000.
The Wastewater Fund Budget is proposed at $238,115.52 with expenses of $209,370, including $37,450 for utilities, $160,920 for operations contract and $11,000 for testing and sludge fees.
The debt service budget is proposed at $758,804 in property tax revenues and $182,575 in interest expenses and $495,000 in bond principal payments.