By JUDY SHERIDAN
The Aledo City Council approved a “one-of-a-kind” residential lighting ordinance, got their first look at a $6.1 million FY 2015 budget and heard a plea for more support from the East Parker County Library in Thursday night’s regular session.
City staff’s investigation into an ordinance to prohibit light trespassing was first proposed by councilman Matt Casey, who earlier told the council of a dispute with one of his neighbors.
“What we found was that most cities do not have an ordinance of this type in residential areas; now commercial areas are covered with light restrictions,” City Administrator Ken Pfeifer said. “What this ordinance would achieve is a limit for no light trespassing on a neighbor’s property, for example, shining over a fence into a neighbor’s yard.”
After some discussion the council amended the short, simple ordinance, drafted by city attorney Betsy Elam, to exclude political subdivisions like the state, school district or city as well as any special events sanctioned by the city. The motion also specified that the city explore new and better ways to enhance the city’s lighting.
The new ordinance carries a penalty for violation of up to $500.
The proposed $6.1 million city budget for FY 2015 is about $536,000 bigger than this year’s, built on an estimated increase in assessed valuation of $22 million and a tax rate of 38 cents/$100 assessed valuation, almost 1.5 cents less than this year. The total taxable value, which isn’t official until the end of July, is estimated at $203 million.
The $2 million general fund reflects increases in health insurance ($13,000) and retirement ($11,000); $75,000 for new vehicles for streets; an extra $50,000 for street rehabilitation; $25,000 for improvements to Community Center Park — including a pavilion and wrought iron fence — and a property tax transfer of $330,000 into the debt fund.
The $2.6 million water/wastewater fund also reflects increases in health insurance ($7,000) and retirement ($6,000) as well as a water purchase rate increase from the City of Fort Worth, from $150,000 to $181,000.
The $1.1 million debt service fund is down by about $80,000 from FY 2014.
The Economic Development Corporation, fueled by a half-cent sales tax, shows revenue at $414,000 and expenses at $375,000, both up more than $93,000 from this year.
An organizational chart shows 16 full-time employees and three part-time employees with no new positions.
On the law enforcement side city staff is recommending the city continue using two deputies from the Parker County Sheriff’s Department rather than start a two-person police department, with Pfeifer saying deputies cost less and will have contracts that include investigative services.
A timeline for budget approval includes an update at the July 24 council meeting, a record vote Aug. 7, public hearings Aug. 28 and Sept. 11 and adoption of the budget and tax rate ordinances Sept. 25.