Weatherford Democrat

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June 30, 2013

Hudson Oaks City Council begins budget discussions

By BRIAN SMITH

HUDSON OAKS — Interim City Administrator Patrick Lawler had the interim removed from 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 year, 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 2 percent. Lawler said the merit increases have averaged around 1.5 percent in recent years.

The city is looking at having its revenues stay flat for the coming fiscal year. An expected 3 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.

The city is also looking to purchase two new police vehicles to replace ones with 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.

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