By BRIAN SMITH
HUDSON OAKS — Interim City Administrator Patrick Lawler had the interim taken off his title after an executive session Thursday night.
Lawler began his career with the city in November 2007 as assistant to the city administrator. He then became director of operations before being named assistant city administrator in 2010. after the departure of former City Administrator Sheri Campbell-Husband, Lawler was moved into the interim city administrator position.
In other activity, the council received its first look at the Fiscal Year 2013-14 budget. According to a staff report, the city is planning on $2.12 million in general fund revenue in the 2013-14 budget, which begins in October, and having expenditures of just under $2.1 million. The extra monies will go into the city’s fund balance.
Lawler said the city will be offering small cost of living allowances for all employees as well as merit increases of up to an additional two percent. Lawler said the merit increases have averaged around 1.5 percent in recent years.
The city is also looking to purchase two new police vehicles to replace a pair of Crown Vics that have between 130,000 and 140,000 miles on them. Lawler said the city was thinking of buying just one new car this year but with the high mileage on both vehicles, determined purchasing two was better.
Lawler asked the council for direction on whether to buy the cars outright or do a lease-purchase. Doing a lease-purchase, with the low interest rates right now, would allow the city to have more flexibility in cash flow, Lawler said.
The states requires cities to keep 30 percent of their budget in a fund balance, or “rainy day” fund. Hudson Oaks has around 34 percent in its fund balance at the present time. By the end of the fiscal year in September 2013, Lawler said about 36 percent would be in the fund.
Having a higher fund balance than is required, akkows the city to have more flexibility when it comes to purchasing items.
For the first time ever, the city will be offering a vacation buyback program. City employees get 240 hours of vacation every year, many of them trying to use it around the holidays. Lawler said the previous “use it or lose it” policy would cause for a lot of overtime late in the year, with people being brought in to work extra shifts.
The city is looking at having its revenues stay flat for the coming fiscal year. An expected three percent rise in sales tax is expected to be negated by a drop in building permits.
Lawler said the final budget will be submitted to council at the July 25 meeting. If there are no changes, council members can then approve the budget at their Aug. 22 or Sept. 26 meetings. Council members also held a workshop to address the city’s new tagline. Four proposals were given to help the city in its marketing and branding.
the four proposals, each which came with corresponding artwork, included “Plant Your Flag,” “Branch Out,” “Deeply Rooted” and “Home Grown.”
Lawler said city staff liked deeply rooted the best. Lawler said taglines can be changed more easily than a logo and the council should consider what it would like for the next five years or so.
Council members were split between Deeply Rooted and Branch Out. After some discussion, Mayor Pat Deen asked to bring the items back next month to gather some sort of consensus.
The council’s next meeting is July 25.
By BRIAN SMITH
- Aledo ExtrA
SPRINGTOWN – After finding that a breaker manufactured by a company with a history of issues contributed to a house fire Friday, Parker County Fire Marshal Shawn Scott is urging Parker County residents with Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breakers to call an electrician and get them checked for safety.
Candidates have filed for city, school board elections
Filings for May 10 city and school board elections are now complete. A summary follows:
On the Aledo ISD school board incumbents David Davis, in Place 6, and Hoyt Harris, in Place 7, have both filed for re-election, each drawing one or more opponents. Farida Goderya has filed for Place 6, opposite Davis, and Riley Morrison and Debra Rogers have filed for Place 7, opposite Harris.
East Parker County Calendar of Events
The East Parker County Chamber of Commerce will welcome retired USAF SMSGT Vernon M. Anderson, Jr., senior technical instructor, Bell Helicopter, Integrated Operations Engineering Support Technical Training Department, as the key note speaker for the March 12 luncheon.
The Sunny Side
WILLOW PARK – Peppered with anecdotes from his stellar baseball career, former Texas Rangers catcher Jim Sundberg gave witness to his Christian faith and told how it changed his life before a crowd of about 200 at the recent annual Trinity Christian Academy dinner and fundraiser.
Aledo ISD approves suicide prevention program
The Aledo School Board approved the LifeLines Suicide Prevention Program in February, lining up with a recommendation from the Student Health Advisory Council, which has spent a year reviewing choices.
Aledo ISD could save up to $2 million
Expecting to save close to $2 million, Aledo ISD trustees recently voted to let district staff pull the trigger on a bank-qualified refunding of some of the district’s outstanding bonds once market conditions are optimum.
Don't feed the deer!
HUDSON OAKS — The city council recently passed an ordinance banning the feeding of deer.
Parker County Sheriff's Report Feb. 27-March 2
Burglary of a vehicle
Deputies were dispatched to the 300 block of James Street in Aledo shortly after 6 p.m. regarding the burglary of a vehicle.
ASK A MASTER GARDENER: Is it too early to start a vegetable garden?
Considering our winter temperatures this year, that’s a good question. When it comes to a successful vegetable garden, timing is everything. The goal in Texas is to have most of your vegetable crops mature before the temperatures soar in mid-summer.
EXTENSION NEWS: Getting more zzzs could help you lose some lbs.
We spend about one-third of our lifetime sleeping. Sleep is important for learning and memory. Sleep also helps our immune system to resist illness and disease, increases response times in emergencies, improves our mood and feelings of wellness and gives us the energy we need to be more active and alert.
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