MIDLOTHIAN — The Midlothian City Council began its annual budget process and set dates for public hearings at its meeting Tuesday, July 23.

City Manager Don Hastings provided the council with an overview of the budget after listing the dates for workshops and public hearings.

“The projected budget for next fiscal year shows a 4.33 percent increase in certified taxable tax base for a total of $2.1 million total tax base for the city,” Hastings said. “This show that we’re on a trend of recuperating property values and on a growth trend.”

He also noted that there is a 7 percent increase in utility revenue, and he said that the draft budget proposes a sixth straight year at the same tax rate, 65 cents per $100 valuation.

The council will meet for a budget workshop at 8:30 a.m. Friday to begin a detailed, department by department review of current and proposed expenditures and projected revenue. A second meeting is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 6.

The first public hearing where the council will hear residents’ input on the budget will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27 as part of its regularly scheduled meeting. If a second public hearing is required it will be held Tuesday, Sept. 3.

After discussing the budget overview, the council received a presentation from Human Resources Director Janet Goad to save the city $33,000 a year in insurance premiums.

Goad explained that the city currently receives a 1.57 percent discount on insurance premiums. In order to retain that discount, it must approve trust documents securing its membership in the Texas Insurance Trust Fund. The nonprofit trust allows the city to be exempt from insurance premium taxes, equal to $33,000 a year in savings. The council unanimously voted to approve the item.

In other business, the council heard a right-of-way encroachment request from Development Services Director John Taylor.

“Vehicles are routinely parking in the right-of-way grass area in from of Jimmy’s Restaurant along 8th Street. There are no wheel stops there, so some of the vehicles are dangerously close to the street and traffic,” Taylor said. “They currently meets the city’s standards for parking capacity, but obviously the impact of their patrons has prompted the need for additional parking.”

He then presented the request to allow right-of-way encroachment to create 10 parking spaces in front of the business. The owner would pay for the cost to build the parking spaces and pay for landscaping, which would be installed and maintained by the city in the remaining right-of-way.

Councilman Ted Miller noted the lack of a sidewalk along the eastern side of 8th Street.

“With them parked like that, if a kid runs around the front of the truck, they’re running right out into the street,” Miller said.

He proposed changing the head-in parking to parallel parking spots, asking if that would allow for a sidewalk. Mayor Bill Houston sided with this plan and the council also briefly considered angled parking before returning to the choice of parallel parking.

Executive Director of Engineering and Utilities Mike Adams confirmed that parallel parking would reduce the number of spaces from 10 head-in to five parallel, but it would allow enough space for a sidewalk. The council voted to table the item until staff could return with designs for parallel parking.

In other action, the council:

• approved minutes from its July 2 and July 9 meetings

• authorized staff to disseminate a Request For Qualifications to seek a consultant for the city’s visioning process, the first phase of its Master Plan update

• rejected all bids for the Jaycee Park Restroom Facility Renovation to re-bid the project

• took action in open session after discussion in closed session to approve a bid award to XIT Paving and Construction, Inc. for the Justice Center access driveway in the amount of $139,434.77

• took action in open session after discussion in closed session to approve the revised settlement agreement between Texas Central Business Lines Corporation and the city of Midlothian

Follow Aaron on Facebook at Facebook.com/AaronSchwadererWDL and on Twitter at Twitter.com/AaronSchwaderer. Contact him at 469-517-1456 or a.schwaderer@waxahachietx.com.