Council approves city budget, tax rate
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove city council approved the city’s annual budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, as well as the tax rate, during its Tuesday night meeting.
For the fiscal year 2018-2019, the city will have an operating budget of $37,033,386.
The council also took a record vote to adopt a tax rate of 79.7908 cents per $100 valuation, the same rate for the past several years. The vote was not unanimous, with place 6 councilman Marc Payne voting against the rate.
Payne tried to make his case for a rate of 79.25 cents per $100 valuation, which he proposed.
“We need to show the citizens that we’re headed in the right direction. We went through 10 years of difficult times where family members cut their budgets and paid their taxes, and the city continued to either raise taxes or keep them the same, and now I think we can show them some respect and that we’re willing to cut taxes,” Payne said. “Also, in order to invite industry here and distributors that will bring in more tax money from outside the area, we need to show them that we are willing to make a positive step in how we’re running the city.”
Councilman Kirby Lack expressed his concerns about what expenditures would have to be cut from the city budget, which the council had just approved.
“If we lose that money, who are we going to lay off? To throw this monkey wrench, we’ll have to redo the budget,” Lack said. “We can’t back up. We’re not raising taxes. We’re hiring new people to mow the cemetery. If we lose this, we might have to cut somebody.”
The difference in the tax rate would have required the city’s budget, which had just been adopted by the council, to be amended by cutting $31,229 in general fund expenditures. Ultimately, Payne’s proposed rate did not pass, with him casting the sole aye vote for the rate.
The council also approved the city’s capital outlay plan for fiscal years 2019-2023, the city’s fiscal year 2019 personnel improvement plan, and the fiscal year 2019 capital outlay plan.
Among the changes approved for the 2019 personnel improvement plan was the addition of a part-time groundskeeper for the Copperas Cove city cemetery.
At least two residents spoke up about the cemetery’s condition, particularly the height of the grass at the cemetery. As part of the budget and personnel improvement plan that the city council passed on Tuesday, a part-time position for cemetery maintenance was approved.
The council also approved a bid by 2Chainz for clearing and grubbing of The Narrows Business and Technology Park in the amount of $105,905.
After the second of two executive sessions on Tuesday night, the council emerged with Mayor Frank Seffrood stating the council has instructed the EDC to move forward on negotiations with a business development project, #ED-2018-1 Project 3-Door.