August 30, 2022 at 10:56 am #4874
Council, the following drafts were prepared based upon our discussions at last night’s budget workshop.
Draft budget 2 includes the following changes:
Changed trash fee from $21.25 to $27.50.
Raised base water rate 10% ($2.40) from $24.00 to $26.40.
Base water revenue goes from $190,080 to $209,088
Raised base sewer rate 10% ($1.90) from $19.00 to $20.90
Base sewer revenue goes from $150,480 to $165,528
The net effect of those changes is:
General Fund – Surplus $89,675.76
Utility Fund – Balanced with GF contribution of $157,001.10
Draft budget 2AP includes the following suggested change to rectify the shortage of office staff:
Added full time AP/Quickbooks Clerk
Fully loaded budget cost $ $69,583.34
The net effect of the suggested change is:
General Fund – Surplus $16,915.90
As we discussed in both workshops, the shortage of office staff is creating problems in accuracy of reporting, amongst other issues.
September 5, 2022 at 12:47 pm #4884Bo BunkerMember
First, let me apologize for not being able to attend these meetings. I have taken a new role with my company and this role requires travel throughout Texas and Louisiana. I enjoy the new role, but it has and will require to miss meetings. I will attend via phone whenever possible.
I’ll start by saying I am not in favor of a tax increase of any kind. Folks are hurting, gas is still high and inching higher again. Food is through the roof many believe will only get worse. Now is not the time to raise taxes and increase city services without providing newer or improved services. It has been a long time since I have heard and read the rumblings about our city like I am seeing now. Anything from lack of visibility of our PD or the city turning into an eyesore. To be honest, I wonder the same thing at times. I know we, as a city, has had a tough time with hiring and retention and I hope things are getting better in that respect, but taxing and increasing the citizens of Shoreacres at this time, I believe is wrong.
I believe we have published a 1000k.8% proposed tax increase, which is the highest allowable without a vote. I wish we would put that on the reader board outside of city hall. I know for a fact; a lot of citizens do not know this. I wish folks would show up and take an interest in what’s going on. Here are a few of my concerns:
1. Every budget proposal I have seen seem to show the 10.8% increase in Tax Revenue.
2. Revenues such as Water, up over 25%, Sewer up 48% and refuse up over 80%. These in both draft 2. These are serious increases in revenues.
3. Is the $36k in refuse collection for cleanup green up?
4. In the General fund, 6110=10 Wages, for QuickBooks employee? I thought that’s why we hired Bernie. To split the time between Karen and Bernie to allow both to focus and their tasks. It was a cost savings then, correct?
5. I also see that on line 6130-30 that we are projecting coming in under budget by $100k. I Don’t get it.
6. On line 6369-50, What is Outside services for $60K?
I was at the Galveston Yacht basin one afternoon and saw this world class fishing boat. I mentioned to my friend, “Good Lord, I wonder how much it costs to put gas in that thing?”. He looked at me and said, “if you gotta ask that question, you can’t afford that boat?”. Truer words were never spoken. I’ve heard the word “crisis” and “scary times” and I have heard the city is broke. We can’t make it even harder and higher to live here. Maybe we can’t afford the boat. I am sorry if these things were already discussed, I just need some clarification and to express my thoughts on no increases.
September 16, 2022 at 12:47 pm #4899
Bo, I’ll try to answer your specific questions.
1. That is correct.
2. The Utility Fund in Draft 2 calls for a rate increase for two reasons. The first draft (and current state) shows that the UF has more expenditures than revenue. We need to operate that fund at least at a break even point and to contribute to the bond repayment. Secondly, as you are aware, any increase in taxes does not affect those residents over 65. During our workshops, members expressed that because of this, a water/sewer/trash increase would be the fairest way to address some of the imbalance.
4. It was a cost savings and in fact did work as planned for a while. As we cleaned everything up and made certain that all functions were being done properly, the workload became higher. We also knew that health problems would probably affect the part-time position. With that in mind, Troy and I added an optional Draft 2-AP for council to consider leading up to the third budget workshop. I don’t know if council will approve that or not but now that we do not have a part-time person, I will put a Draft 3 together for council to consider. That draft 3 will include a full-time employee and defund the part-time position. Council will have to decide what direction the city should take.
5. I cannot find that. 6130-30 is the 1/2 of the bonus for the city manager. I’ve looked through the other lines to try to find something like that but have not been able to. Could you clarify?
6. That is Innovative Solutions. This is one of the problem areas that cropped up because of my answer to your #4. We have found multiple coding errors where amounts were assigned to the wrong expenditure categories and are in the process of correct those. Draft 3 will have $63k in that account, which was originally assigned to 6369-10. That account will now show $8k.
September 18, 2022 at 1:41 pm #4901Bo BunkerMember
Thank you for your reply. I am aware of the tax increase not affecting 65 and older. I also understand needing to operate on a break even at worse budget which is why I brought up the need for both, a tax increase and rate increases across the board. I say that because I believe we should not have anything in this budget that is not an absolute expenditure. My list, line 5, where you say it is 1/2 or the bonus correct? This budget or last year’s payment? I recall budgeting in last year, one of my arguments for not raising taxes last year, was a bonus budgeted in for Troy coming in under budget. Are we budgeting in bonus payments for coming in under budget on this year or are we budgeting it in based on coming in under budget? Same thing with the police car. Do we have an officer for that car, or can we take it out of the budget until we hire the officer? Then Troy can come to council for approval. Also, is it really necessary? I know we have a shop that is performing services on these cars. My point being, don’t budget it in until the time comes to spend it. Trying my best to explain but it seems a bit like rambling. Let me know if I need to clarify. thanks
September 18, 2022 at 7:08 pm #4902
Okay, I understand your Line 5 question now. That number is based upon last year’s budget. I doubt we will be able to come that far under budget again but to be conservative, we put that number in as a ‘worst case’ expenditure. Of course, if that is the case, then the net positive to the city would be $80k. If you attend the workshop you can try to get a different number there and use a lower number to negate some of the proposed tax increase.
During council’s discussion in the previous workshops, I think we’ve had three?, they discussed the age/condition of the current fleet extensively. They arrived at the conclusion that if we replace a vehicle each year, then we will be turning in a 4 year old vehicle every year, eventually. The budgeted vehicle is to replace a 7 year old one that currently spends more time in the shop than on the road. Again, you can make your case to the other members and perhaps they will change their minds. There are multiple officers for each vehicle. Starting tomorrow, we will have all full-time positions filled. We are still short of reserves but continue to advertise. Our retention is actually pretty good all things considered it is a difficult time to be an officer. Any time we do have an officer resign, there will be some people in the city that react negatively to that. I remain a big supporter of our PD and haven’t heard the complaints that you reference and do not share that view.
I agree with having the city manager come to council for expenditures that are not budgeted. That is why he has come before council to do that. Sometimes the unexpected happens and we have to adjust. I disagree with your comment that we shouldn’t budget until we have to spend it. I don’t know how that would even work.
We are in a good financial position because of the budgeting tactics and spending restraints that we have shown. As I mentioned during the council meeting on the 12th, the current proposed tax rate is 12.6% BELOW the inflation adjusted rate from 2015. I know of no other governmental body that can say that. During their discussions in the workshops, council members discussed the realities of the inflationary times that we are living in. I hope that you get an opportunity to participate in the remaining workshops.
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