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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Heights city council discusses annual budget

By Nick Delgado, Harker Heights Evening Star

The Harker Heights City Council met on Tuesday to discuss and approve a resolution that would award a contract for the 2015 street improvement project to TTG Utilities, LP. The contract is totaled at $431,864, and budgeted as part of the current fiscal year Capital Improvement Fund.

The project included cement stabilizing and paving cracks along Memory Lane, as well as installing concrete valley gutters. The second part of the contract included installing a curb inlet into the existing storm drain near the intersection of Miller’s Crossing and Farm-to-Market 2410.

The council also held a public hearing to discuss changes made to the fiscal year 2015-2016 budget since their previous workshop was held. The budget proposed revenues at about $37.8 million and expenses at about $49.5 million. The projected fund balance is estimated at $12.7 million.

“The change that we made to the general fund is we added the National Mounted Warfare Foundation in the amount of $25,000,” said Alberta Barrett, finance director.

The city also had $2.4 million in building improvements budgeted for next year. “One thing that’s new is the central station for the fire department,” she said. “We will start the architecture and design for the renovation of their building.”

Park improvements and sidewalks were also included as part of the projects in the budget for next year, she said.

The budget does include maintaining the tax rate of $0.6770 per $100, but the utility fund could raise the rates for water and sewer by 3 percent.

The council also held a public hearing to discuss and consider a tax increase for next fiscal year. “We are maintaining our tax rate,” Barrett said. “But as an individual property owner their taxes could be higher than last year based on whatever the assessed values are, but the city itself is not raising our tax rate.”

A second round of public hearings to discuss the budget and tax increase will be held on Sept. 1. The council is scheduled to adopt a final budget on Sept. 8.

Council members also discussed a variety of efforts taken on by the community to prepare the children for the start of the school year. A back to school rally was recently held before students headed back to class.

“We had a very successful event,” said Mayor Pro Tem Pat Christ. “I’d like to thank those guilty parties as usual, Parks and Rec and the library and the planning department who helped working with the Knights at the roundtable. We had a good event and school has started as normal.”

City Manager David Mitchell also recognized the fire department for their part in the “Safety Back to School initiative. Fire fighters spent the beginning of the first week of school at all local elementary and middle schools reminding drivers to slow down in school zones.

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