By CHRISTIN COYNE
Aledo city staff has recommended the city council adopt a $5.55 million total budget for the upcoming fiscal year and keep the property tax rate unchanged.
Though staff had hoped to recommend a slight decrease in the tax rate, the certified tax roll values released this month were lower than preliminary assessment numbers the Parker County Appraisal District provided the city in May, City Administrator Ken Pfeifer told the council Thursday night.
The certified tax roll showed property valuations totaling just over $181 million. At the current tax rate of 39.43 cents per $100 valuation, the city is expected to obtain approximately $714,000 in ad valorem tax revenue, up from the current fiscal year estimate of $665,000.
The increase is primarily due to new construction, according to city staff. Appraised values are also up for the city of Aledo.
Sales tax revenue for the city is also expected to increase next year.
Public hearing on the budget and tax rate are scheduled for Aug. 22 and Sept. 12. Adoption of the budget and tax rate is scheduled for Sept. 26.
This week, the city is expected to receive information on the effective tax rate – the rate at which the same properties taxed last year would raise the same amount of revenue – and publish that information prior to the upcoming public hearings.
The council was also presented information Thursday night on a couple of public safety expenses in the proposed budget.
Contracting for an additional deputy from the Parker County Sheriff’s Office would add an additional 86 manpower hours per 14-day pay period, for a total of 172 out of every 336 hours, according to information presented to the council.
The primary responsibilities of the assigned deputies includes routine neighborhood and business patrol, traffic control, criminal investigations, prisoner transport and municipal court appearances.
The deputies patrol inside the city except to respond to a priority call.
City staff also received a letter from the appraisal district verifying that ESD No. 1 will not be taxing Aledo fire district residents during the upcoming fiscal year despite the recent annexation by ESD No. 1.
Properties are added to the taxing roll in January so ESD No. 1 can’t collect taxes until the 2015 fiscal year, the council was informed.
The Aledo Volunteer Fire Department, which has requested $50,000 from the city to help cover their costs during the upcoming fiscal year, provided information to the council Thursday night indicating an additional firefighter is expected to be added at the fire station in Aledo for a total of two full-time staff, according to the city.
The district also hopes to begin looking for property to build a new Aledo fire station, currently a machine shop the department has outgrown, Stephen Watson, of ESD No. 1, told the council.