Council holds budget workshop at Tuesday meeting
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove city council worked its way through the proposed fiscal year 2017-2018 city budget on Tuesday evening, with city budget director/deputy city manager Ryan Haverlah giving a presentation that allowed for questions, answers, and direction from the council.
Projected expenditures for the city’s major operating funds total $33,661,874, which are the general fund, the water and sewer fund, the solid waste fund, and the golf course fund.
Tuesday night’s went through each funded area of the budget.
The general fund, which is driven by revenue to include that from property taxes and sales tax, has a projected $15,663,628 in revenues, with a proposed $16,621,145 in expenditures. The difference will be made up from the existing fund balance of $5,443,016 at the start of the fiscal year, with a projected ending balance of $4,485,499 at the end of the fiscal year, which is over the ideal fund balance by $434,955. The ideal fund balance is 90 days’ worth of operating expenses for the city.
Projected revenues for the city are a little lower than the projected revenues to come in for the current year by about $125,000.
Proposed general fund expenditures for the upcoming year are just over $600,000 more than the current year.
Haverlah explained that the general fund pays for public safety, public works, city administration, community services like parks and recreation, the library, athletics, aquatics, and development services to include building and planning, and code compliance.
Public safety has the largest slice of the general fund’s “pie,” with roughly $10.3 million funding police, fire, animal control and the municipal court.
Police chief Eddie Wilson explained one of the budget requests for the upcoming year, that of re-instating a second deputy police chief and reclassifying one of the motor patrol officer positions. He clarified for the council that doing away with one of the motor patrol spots doesn’t mean there will be one less officer on the streets.
Among other requested changes this fiscal year is for the public safety employees’’ market stabilization increases of $2,500 across the board for all public safety employees with certifications, as well as incentive pay changes. In addition to those increases, the fire department is also requesting equipment and supplies like a large capacity washer for washing the personal protective gear.
The council will hear more departmental budget presentations at its Tuesday, July 18 meeting next week. There will also be a meeting on July 27 to discuss the proposed tax rate for the next year, with a record vote on the tax rate set for August 1, during which meeting there will also be a public hearing on the proposed budget and a discussion of any proposed city fee changes for the next year.
On August 3, there will be a workshop for groups requesting hotel occupancy funding. August 15 is the date scheduled for the first public hearing on the tax rate, an economic development department budget workshop, and adoption of long-range plans. The second public hearing for the proposed tax rate will be August 15. The council will adopt a tax rate and budget and fee schedule on September 5.