Copperas Cove city council enters budget planning season

Utility rate increases included in proposed budget

By BRITTANY FHOLER 

Cove Leader-Press 

 

Copperas Cove city staff presented city council members with the proposed fiscal year 2020-2021 budget during the workshop meeting held last Tuesday evening. 

The budget is scheduled to be workshopped in meetings this week, beginning with a meeting this evening at 5 p.m. 

Last Tuesday’s workshop was the first instance where council members had been presented with a proposed city budget for the next fiscal year. 

The General Fund has a beginning fund balance of $6,423,964; revenues of $17,657,766; expenses of $18,881,682; and an ending fund balance of $5,200,048. The fund balance is a “rainy day fund” and city policy calls for an ideal fund balance of 90 days. 

Changes for next year’s General Fund revenues include a projected two percent increase in property tax revenue as well as a three percent increase in sales tax revenue compared to last fiscal year. Revenue from license and permits decreased by two percent. Revenue from charges for services increased by nine percent. There have been no General Fund fee increases and revenues are stable for most services. The increases are due to reduced revenue in YE caused by COVID-19. Revenues from fines and forfeitures increased by seven percent. These increases were also due to reduced revenue in YE caused by COVID-19. 

Significant expenditure changes for the General Fund include market adjustments for Public Works/Parks/Library positions, 95 percent for 50 positions totaling $193,343, plus a one percent cost of living adjustment for all eligible employees, costing $124,422. The implementation of a Step Plan for the Police Department, at 2.5 percent, will cost $126,815. The funding of a custodian position will cost $35,615, while funding two full-time and a part-time laborer position for Parks will cost $84,006. Economic Development 380 Rebates will cost $472,276, and state legislative services will cost $55,000. 

Significant new requests in the budget for the General Fund include the previously mentioned custodian position as well as furniture and equipment for both the police and fire departments, parking lot repairs and incentive license pay for the Municipal Courts and Code Compliance. 

The Water and Sewer Fund has a beginning fund balance of $3,274,580; revenues of $14,203,853; expenses of $14,163,056; and an ending fund balance of $3,315,377. 

The city is looking at a five percent water and sewer rate increase, which is included in the proposed budget. Other revenues include interest revenue and auction proceeds. The proposed rates, with the increase, would change a customer’s current residential base rate from $4.75 to $4.99 and from 5.82 to $6.11 for commercial customers. The volumetric rate for sewer would increase from $5.75 to $6.04. 

Significant expenditure changes include market pay adjustments for Public Works positions, - 95 percent at 39 position. Changes also include the funding of an Assistant Director of Public Works position, for $84,503 and a Utilities Administration Manager for $69,159. With the in-house utility administration, there are also changes in the water purchase rate, namely a 7.5 percent increase of $100,000. 

The Solid Waste fund has a beginning fund balance of $3,153,304; revenues of $4,920,745; expenses of $5,342,636; and an ending fund balance of $2,731,413. 

The Solid Waste Fund also sees a five percent rate increase, included in the proposed budget, increasing revenues. For a resident with a 96-gallon bin, the rate increases from $19.00 to $19.95. For a commercial 96-gallon bin, that number increases from $39.58 to $41.56. 

Significant expenditure changes include market adjustments for all Public Works positions- 29 of which are in Solid Waste. Other changes include a one percent Cost of Living Adjustment and the funding of a supervisor position at the Transfer Station and two laborer positions at the Transfer Station as well as increasing disposal and hauling costs and resuming replacement of trash bins. 

The Golf Course fund has a negative beginning fund balance of -$1,427,168; revenues of $344,790; expenses of $342,905; and an ending fund balance of -$1,425,283. 

Significant expenditure changes in the Golf Course Fund include market adjustments at 95 percent for 2 positions and a one percent Cost of Living Adjustment for all eligible employees. 

The Other Fund has a beginning fund balance of $2,223,631; revenues of $6,457,987; expenses of $6,542,553; and an ending fund balance of $2,139,065. 

Significant expenditure changes and requests in the Other Funds includes a 15 percent rate increase for the Drainage Utility Fund; market adjustments at 95 percent and a one percent Cost of Living Adjustment, as well as personnel changes. These changes include reclassifying four part-time seasonal laborers into two full-time positions. 

Capital projects under this fund include Constitution Drive Drainage Improvements for $442,008. 

Significant issues for the Other Funds include the authorization of the sales tax collected for the Street Maintenance Fund, which is set to expire within 12 months, on June 30, 2021. 

“Even though the sales tax expires on June 30, 2021, state law requires that any renewal of the sales tax portion for street maintenance must occur  on the General Election date which means that election has to occur this November in 2020,” said City Manager Ryan Haverlah. 

Other Funds also include the Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund, which has been impacted by COVID-19. The HOT Fund funding requests for the next budget year total $136,571. 

The total proposed city budget has a beginning fund balance of $13,648,311; revenues of $43,585,141; expenditures of $45,272,832; and an ending fund balance of $11,960,620. 

City council will meet this evening at the Technology Center at 5 p.m. Due to COVID-19, meetings are still closed to the public. The public may participate in this meeting by the dialing the toll-free number (888) 475-4499 and using meeting ID: 986 602 9818. 

The public will be permitted to offer public comments telephonically as provided by the agenda and as permitted by the presiding officer during the meeting.  Written questions or comments may be submitted up to two hours before the meeting via email to Lisa Wilson, City Secretary at lwilson@copperascovetx.gov.  The public can also view the meeting being livestreamed on the city’s YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIHkZ_Fwq-Y0iRkNU1-fM8w/.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207