By BRIAN SMITH
Continued discussion of the Fiscal Year 2014 budget is part of today’s work session for Weatherford city council members.
The work session, set for 5 p.m. at City Hall, is two-fold. Discussion of the budget will include changes in the employee retirement system, budget changes that have been made since the original Aug. 6 budget presentation, and answers to questions posed during a budget retreat Aug. 17.
The second part of the work session is an update on a proposed joint agreement between the Weatherford Fire Department and Emergency Services District No. 3, which services Hudson Oaks and portions of East Parker County. The two entities have been working on a contract for the last several months and are hoping to get an agreement hammered out by the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.
The regularly scheduled meeting, at 6:30 p.m., will open with a presentation by Main Street Program Director Kim Thieme on a proposed Downtown Action Plan. City staff have been working with downtown business owners, visitors and residents to develop a plan to beautify and make the downtown area more accessible to both pedestrians and vehicles by the year 2030.
The results of the plan are scheduled to be unveiled, with a preliminary time frame as to when the projects may be accomplished.
A public hearing on the proposed ad valorem tax rate is also on the agenda. The tax rate of 46.36 cents per $100 valuation has not changed from a year ago. Council members turned down the idea of a 1.35-cent increase to the tax rate, to go towards street upkeep during their Aug. 13 meeting.
The increase would have raised taxes about $230,000. Council members decided to cut other areas of the budget to see if the funds could be raised that way. An estimated 1-percent increase in sales tax revenue is scheduled to go toward street maintenance.
Also on the agenda are acceptance of two grants. One is from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) to create and make available to the public a digital database of historic documents found in Weatherford, Azle, Aledo, Springtown, Millsap and other sites in Parker County, which would otherwise not be available to the public.
The other grant, from the same group, will allow for the purchase of downloadable magazine content and hardware for the Weatherford Public Library, along with the other libraries in the county. The two grants combined total just under $60,000.