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Council works through three budget deals
(08/01/13)

By: Dolores Hamilton
Members of the Iowa Park City Council studied three draft of General Fund budgets Monday night, and discussed the future increase in water rates by Wichita Falls for its wholesale water customers.

When the certified tax appraisal numbers were released this week, Iowa Park had $179,18,246 in property values, up $394,986 over last year. City Manager Mike Price said the increase equates to $12,000 in additional property revenue.

The first budget draft includes the following:
• Two-cent tax rate increase;
• Employee salary increases;
• Funding for police department’s “Homegrown training program”;
• Parks Department laborers moved to equipment operator status;
• Add one full-time clerk position at library;
• City’s cost for new flex-plan benefits program;
• $5,000 in capital outlay for computer replacement; and
• Continued funding for RAC and Friendly Door.
This budget is currently $17,890 in the red.

Draft number two includes:
• No tax rate increase, but increase in tax revenue will require public hearings;
• No employee salary increases;
• Funding for police department’s “Homegrown training program”;
• Increase Parks Department laborers to equipment operator status;
• Add one full-time clerk position at library;
• Includes city’s cost for new flex-plan benefits program;
• No capital outlay; and
• Continued funding for RAC and Friendly Door.
The proposed budget is currently $18,710 in the black.

Draft number three takes the General Fund revenue found in Draft number one and combines it with the General Fund expenditures found in Draft number 2. Surplus can be used for capital outlay and line item account increases.
This budget includes:
• Two cent tax rate increase;
• No employee salary increases;
• Funding for police department’s “Homegrown training program”;
• Add one full-time clerk position at library;
• Includes city’ cost for new flex-play benefits program; and
• Continued funding for RAC and Friendly Door.
This proposed budget is currently $62,010 in the black.

Price told the council if they decide to do an increase in tax revenue they have to make a decision by the next meeting on Aug. 5.

Councilman Keith Dyer said they need to do what it takes to run the city, and referring to the first budget draft asked, “Does anybody see any extravagance in any of this?” Price replied that even with the dollar an hour raises for employees on the lower end it would not bring their salaries to the top in this area. Dyer said he had been shocked at low the salaries are.

Tim Shepherd asked Price if there are enough line items in Draft Number One that could be cut to balance the budget. Price said that he would go through and make the cuts and present them at the next meeting.

“It’s your call,” Price said. “The staff can make recommendations, but we don’t vote on them.”

Dyer replied, “We rely on your recommendations and we rely on your research, and I feel you have laid it down as well as it can be done.”

Sherrie Williams said, “I totally agree. I don’t like it one bit, but basically at this point, with a two-cent tax increase, we’re just maintaining the status quo.”

Concerning the increase in water rates, Price told the council that the city is waiting on the final draft of the water rate study being done by the City of Wichita Falls to find out the amount of increase they will be be passing on to their wholesale water customers. He said they were anticipating an increase of 120 to 150 percent.

In other business, Police Lieutenant Jimmy Eaton reported that the Iowa Park Police Department had used funds from the department’s seized assets account to purchase new badges and also patches that display the new city logo on them.

Price gave the council the quarterly financial report and condition of the city that is required by the city’s Home Rule Charter.