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Proposed budget to be considered

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

PILOT POINT — Later this month, the Pilot Point City Council will consider approving a proposed $6.8 million budget to fund projects that include street improvements, a water well and an equipment replacement fund. 

According to the city, the council is scheduled to consider approving the proposed budget on Sept. 23. The city must adopt the tax rate by Sept. 30, the last day of the current fiscal year. 

The city has already voted to keep the tax rate the same as last year, and City Manager Tom Adams said the budget reflects several positive changes that show a change in the economy. 

Pilot Point’s property taxes have increased after more than three years of an economic downturn. The proposed budget will raise $30,364 more revenue in property taxes than last year’s budget. Of that amount, nearly $6,000 comes from new properties. 

“Our revenues are moving up and that’s always a good thing for the city,” Adams said. 

According to the proposed budget, total city revenue is $5.4 million, which is outpaced by expenditures. But Adams said expenditures exceed revenues because of the city’s use of capital funds for citywide projects. 

However, the police department’s budget increased by 12 percent, jumping from $504,243 to $564,924. 

The fire department’s budget saw the opposite, decreasing 13 percent, but the city increased the emergency medical services by 7.5 percent. 

Adams said the main issues and expenses that he and the city struggled with were the additions of a second full-time paramedic and a school resource officer. 

“Those are two of the biggest issues we’ve had to grapple with,” he said.

Adams said funding the positions required the city to do some shifting. 

To fund the increased cost of two full-time paramedics, the proposed budget includes the loss of one part-time paramedic on both the day and night shift. The proposed cost for the school resource officer is about $63,000. 

The Pilot Point school district is expected to fund 75 percent of the officer’s salary, while the city makes up the rest, which is about $14,000.

The city is financially stable and the proposed budget shows that there will be a little more than $1.9 million in the city’s fund balance after services and programs for residents are funded for the year, officials said.

Many of the projects City Council members plan to tackle for 2014 are related to improving infrastructure and meeting the needs of emergency services. 

One of the largest expenses the city has is the $950,000 budgeted for a new water well. The new well will allow for additional growth, officials said. 

The funding for the project will come from the 2010 Water Capital Improvement Program — $300,000 from the water reserves and $700,000 from the 2013 Water Fund Capital Improvement Program. 

About $40,000 is budgeted for sidewalk improvements. According to city officials, the city has a limited number of sidewalks, and even the sidewalks in the downtown area have been in a state of disrepair for some time. 

The city said the money for sidewalks could be used for downtown, areas near schools or any other projects approved by the city. 

Mayor Pete Hollar and council members said they didn’t see anything in the proposed budget that concerns them. 

City department budgets varied for 2013-14, according to the proposed budget. Some departmental budgets increased, some decreased slightly and some stayed relatively the same. 

According to a recent audit, officials noted that Pilot Point will likely continue to recover from the economic downturn based on continued construction and increasing property tax values.

Because of the city’s proximity to larger cities, Pilot Point is also an attractive location for future developments, according to the audit.

The next council meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Pilot Point City Hall, 102 E. Main St. 

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.