The Granbury City Council is in the process of determining an operations budget for the City of Granbury for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. To begin this process, the City Council held the annual budget workshop with City Manager Chris Coffman on Monday, June 24 to begin discussions on the proposed budget and look at options for creating a budget that fulfills the community’s needs with the $48M budget.
Between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2018, the City of Granbury’s population has grown by 30.3 percent and the Hood County population has grown by 18.3 percent. When planning for our future, the City and County can expect more growth on the horizon. With this fact in mind, major initiatives for the 2019-2020 City budget include a focus on public safety and quality of life plans that will be beneficial for generations to come.
In addition to issues with growth, City Council also must consider the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 2 by the Texas Legislature. Among other requirements, SB 2 requires an election if new revenues exceed $500K, but this ruling does not go into effect until 2020-2021. However, the City Manager has decided to be proactive by applying SB 2 requirements to the 2019-2020 tax rate and budget and keep revenue increases below the limits set by SB 2.
“Granbury keeps a conservative budget, with one of the lowest tax rates in the area. Our City Council understands the needs of our rapidly growing community and is working proactively to implement the Texas Legislature’s new taxation laws that keep property taxes low prior to them becoming effective next year, while at the same time still making sure public safety and quality of life in Granbury are taken care of,” said City Manager Coffman.
Proposed Budget Modifications
The purpose of the June 24 budget workshop was to facilitate budget conversation for the City Council to establish their budget priorities and give direction to the City Manager. Using the feedback from the City Council at that workshop, City Manager Coffman has modified priorities for the proposed budget that accomplish these goals.
To illustrate the City’s massive need for additional public safety funding, the City Council and City Manager Coffman discussed a theoretical eight cent property tax increase at the workshop. A tax rate increase of this size could fund all the additional Police Department positions that are critically needed to keep up with the public safety needs of the community. The City Council did not embrace the idea of a tax rate increase at the budget workshop but did support funding the Police Department’s needs.
Because of the backing from the City Council for the need to support increased public safety, the City Manager has drafted the recommendations to achieve this priority. These included
- combing through every department’s budget and taking opportunities to cut and reduce programs and live items,
- reviewing and editing revenue projections without increasing tax rate,
- increasing utility franchise fees to the General Fund, and
- implementing an additional one percent increase to water and sewer fee projections totaling in a four percent increase.
After all adjustments were made, the modified proposed budget is able to make up the $845K needed in order for the City to fund five full-time police officer positions and one full-time investigator position, a completive salary adjustment for the Police Department, and two police vehicles without an eight cent tax rate increase.
The modified proposed budget, which would meet the need for the expansion in public safety the City Manager is recommending to the City Council, maintains the same tax rate as the previous year of $0.399385 per $100 valuation.
The next step in the City’s budget process will be for the proposed budget to be posted on the City’s website or available for viewing in the City Secretary’s Office (116 W. Bridge St.) by August 1. The City will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget to take in community feedback at the September 3 regular City Council meeting, before City Council will ultimately adopt a final budget that goes into effect on October 1, 2019. There will also be two tax rate public hearings at City Council meetings in August, tentatively set for August 20 and 27. Public hearing dates are pending City Council’s approval of those dates, and notices for these public hearings will be posted on the City website, www.granbuy.org.
To use the City’s budget transparency tool, OpenGov, for an in-depth look at the current budget, visit www.granbury.org/opengov. More information about the City budget throughout the budget process will be posted to www.granbury.org/budget.
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