City council hears from department heads
by Dolores Hamilton
City council members went over the proposed budgets for the General Fund and Utility Fund and listened to requests from the city’s department heads during a budget workshop Monday night.
Preliminary figures include total revenue of $3,355,730, and $3,337,670 in expenditures, leaving the General Fund in the black by $18,060. City Manager Mike Price said the certified property appraisal value should be available by July 25.
Using estimated appraised property value, residential solid waste increase, water and sewer rate increases, TMRS rate, worker’s compensation rate decrease and new health/life insurance rates, the budgets for the General Fund and Utility Fund are currently in the black.
The proposed budgets show no salary increases and the only capital outlay expenditures are for the FCC radio narrow banding and the retro-reflectivity traffic signs, which are both federal unfunded mandates.
The rate increase requested by IESI for residential solid waste collection was discussed. Iowa Park residents are now paying $13 a month, and the new rate would be $14.
A chart listing the services and costs of several other cities in the area show several are currently paying a higher rate, but many were receiving additional services such as bulk waste pickup, roll-offs for special events, clean up discounts and recycling bins.
During the presentations by department heads, City Librarian Amie Schultz said she would like to extend hours the library is open from 38 to 52 hours a week. The new hours would be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, making it available after working and school hours. On Friday, the hours would be from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Her request included an increase in funding for office supplies, a projector for showing movies indoors and outdoors, disc cabinets for DVDs, funding for materials for the summer reading program (the state no longer provides the materials), as well as extending the program through the end of July.
Also, Schultz requested additional funding for data processing, print materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, eBooks, membership in North Texas Library Partners, and training.
Iowa Park Fire Chief Randy Fulbright asked that $500 for funding education be moved to maintenance. He said grants pay for education. He stressed the need for a CAD 911 system that would benefit both the police and fire departments.
He said it would be used every day by the departments because it allows dispatchers to inform them of histories of previous calls at a location and previous incidents involving a caller, hazard and medical alerts to warn of conditions in the field that officers, EMTs, and firemen need to be aware of.
Fulbright also said they have a fire truck they need to retire in next two years, adding that a fully equipped replacement truck costs around $300,000.
Robbie Mathews, Parks and Recreation Director, asked for an increase in funding for maintenance for the swimming pool. In addition he asked for a printer to be used by the Parks, Code Enforcement, and Public Works Departments.
City Secretary Janice Newman presented the requests for city hall and administration. She said it has been recommended that they replace the computers at city hall every five years, and the plan is to begin by replacing three computers this year.
Newman said the city had been receiving requests from customers to pay their bills online with a credit or debit card. She said they are looking at different programs to see if it is feasible.
In other business, the council amended the list of authorized signers for municipal accounts at State National Bank of Texas, and authorized the mayor and city manager to utilize an automated (stamp) check signer for payroll and accounts payable checks.