The Rockport City Council held an extended budget workshop Monday, Aug. 3 to hammer out the details of the city’s 2020-21 budget.
“The budget is relatively cut and dried,” said City Manager Kevin Carruth.
The proposed budget is fueled by a tax rate, which is four percent above he no new revenue rate ($.421311).
The current tax rate is $.420082. The certified no new revenue tax rate for 2020 is $.405107
The average resident will see his or her city tax bill increase by $2.84.
“Half of the city’s homeowners will see their tax bill increase $2.10, or less,” said Carruth.
The council will hold one public hearing Tuesday, Sept. 8 regarding the budget and proposed tax rate.
On the revenue side, the budget reflects no increase is sales tax or Hotel Occupancy Tax receipts.
Rockport utility customers will see no increase in utility rates, or sanitation rates.
Every five years the city conducts a compensation study, and this year is the second time it has conducted the study.
The study revealed the need for 2.87% adjustment in the overall wage scale, as well as a 2.46% equity adjustment. Previous council’s approved following the guidelines of that study every five years. Therefore, the overall increase in the total compensation package is 5.33%, which includes cost of living adjustments.
The growth in general fund staffing expense is less than 12% during the past 10 years. The total growth in general fund spending is about 40% during that same timeframe.
At its June 23 meeting, the council approved a resolution authorizing publication and posting of notice of intention to issue certificates of obligation (CO) to finance various public improvements.
The proposed projects to be funded with a $20 million CO issuance are:
• City hall - $11,770,000
• Concho Street stormwater drainage - $2,300,000
• Key Allegro Bridge easements - $650,000
• City vehicles and equipment - $1,160,000
• RSC dispatch consoles (backup dispatch) - $750,000
• Austin Street rebuild and water main - $1,950,000
• Memorial Park parking lot and entrance - $300,000
• Memorial Park shade structure - $50,000
• Youth Gathering facility and parking - $600,000
• Pool re-plastering - $150,000
• Slide for large pool - $70,000
• Pool parking lot - $100,000
• Linden Street rehabilitation - $900,000
(Note: the total for these projects is $20,750,000. The CO issuance is projected at $20 million because $750,000 of the total amount would be paid via utility revenues.)
The city has made significant inroads in paying down its current debt, which has resulted in a projected lowering of its Interest and Sinking (I&S, or debt service) tax rate in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
The projected decrease in the I&S portion of the tax rate will allow the city to float the bonds with minimal $.012 impact on the I&S rate, which is included in the overall proposed tax rate.
There will be a public hearing regarding the certificates of obligation in the future, as well.