Area cities hash out budgets

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Many area municipal officials will reinvest increases in property and sales tax revenue into service upgrades and city improvements, while maintaining balanced 2012-13 budgets.

A few municipalities, such as Krum and Pilot Point, have already approved their budgets, and several others are scheduled to finish and approve their budgets this month before the fiscal year ends.

The majority of the budgets are balanced and have very little or no surpluses. Officials said increased tax revenues give them room to create and improve services.

Corinth will raise more total property taxes than last year’s budget by $118,802, or 1.44 percent.

And in Oak Point, the property taxes top last year’s budget by $35,183, or 2.39 percent, with $24,998 from new taxable property.

“Using the increase of just over $35,000, the city plans to engage the assistance of an engineering firm to assist the city in preparing a capital improvements plan,” Oak Point City Manager Doug Mousel said.

Several municipalities are using the new revenues to beef up reserve funds to prepare for unexpected expenditures.

“The additional funding will also allow the city to implement an emergency weather notification and mass communication service,” Mousel said.

Sanger city officials will take advantage of about $150,000 in additional property tax revenue from the Wal-Mart distribution center, which was tax-exempt for 10 years.

City Manager Mike Brice said Sanger expects a total increase of about $180,000 in property tax revenue. He said the additional funds will go toward the fire and police departments as well as city infrastructure.

Hickory Creek’s budget officials expect a surplus of about $6,700, while neighbor Lake Dallas looks to break even.

However, for a few city councils, departmental budget cuts were still necessary. Pilot Point made cuts to balance its budget after seeing little change in taxable properties.

Argyle saw decreases in property taxes and sales taxes. The Town Council is scheduled to approve a budget deficit, according to its most recent proposed budget, with plans to pull revenue from the fund balance to cover gaps.

The council is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday. Mayor Matt Smith said there is still a chance to balance the budget throughout the year through budget amendments.

Shady Shores town officials also will dip into their savings, but to pay for a road improvement project. The project will require removing about $490,215 from the town’s general fund.

“The largest expenditure in the upcoming budget will be roads and drainage, as the council has requested $600,000 to begin an aggressive repair of these needed issues,” Mayor Jerry Williams said. “We have a very generous amount in our fund balance as we have not relied on its use for several years now.”

The 2012-13 fiscal year begins Oct.1.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is jharden@dentonrc.com .


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