August 30, 2016 Council Rundown

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Council member Steve Ott was absent due to an illness.

BUDGET WORK SESSION

The council continued their ongoing budget discussions. First up was the Crime Board budget, which Council has to either approve or deny and can’t make changes to. Council member Elzie Clements spoke first, thanking the Crime Board and the Police Chief for how much they were able to cut their budget. He spoke highly of the WSPD and said he appreciates the cuts, but hopes they didn’t cut too much. Council member David Mann, echoed this sentiment. City Manager Jim Ryan reminded them that much of the WSPD budget is also contained in the main budget in addition to what is in the Crime Board budget, saying it was the “single most important and expensive thing the City spends money on.”

The project to drill new wells in the City was discussed. Two smaller wells will be drilled near Splash Dayz to supply water to the park while other wells in other parts of the City are being discussed that would be used for drinking water. This project is still in the engineering phase and won’t be completed until some time in 2017.

Mayor Ronald A. White asked about the street improvement fund, asking if there was a list of streets that need to be worked on. Ryan stated that there is a list and that the City is trying to fix what they can with the money they have. “Street repairs are very expensive,” Ryan said, telling Council that they are trying to address the worst streets first. Clements stated that he believes the City is making improvements to the roads. Mayor White added that people don’t always understand how expensive street repairs are.

Water and sewer rates are staying level for now. Fort Worth did go up on their rates, but the increase was only 2%, prompting the City to just absorb this particular increase instead of passing it on to the citizens.

PUBLIC HEARING ON BUDGET

Anyone wishing to speak about the budget had that opportunity during the public hearing. One citizen asked about the Animal Shelter budget, saying they’d like to see the air conditioning situation at the building addressed. They were told that there is money in the budget to do something regarding the need for better cooling at the shelter.

Another citizen spoke and questioned the library budget, saying it had been cut. This prompted a lengthy back and forth as members of the council informed the speaker that their numbers didn’t show a cut to the library budget but actually there was an increase in the library budget, not a cut. The citizen disputed this. Ryan informed them that they went to great lengths not to cut the library budget, again repeating that the budget was not cut. Mayor White said he understands concerns about the library budget but that money has to be spread across all departments. There continued to be confusion regarding what numbers the citizen was quoting from as they insisted the library budget was being cut. City staff invited the citizen to come to City Hall, saying they would be happy to sit down and go over the budget with them and address their concerns.

PUBLIC HEARING ON TAX RATE

One citizen spoke regarding the tax rate, telling the council that appraisals on homes have gone up. They said they don’t feel the City needs to pass a tax increase and asked them not to go through with the proposed tax increase.