FERRIS – After reconvening in open session at its council meeting Monday night, Ferris City Council members approved the mediated settlement agreement with the city of Wilmer.

City Manager Dennis Burn said for the past three years the cities have been going back and forth because they couldn’t agree on two annexation ordinances proposed by Wilmer.

“We chose to challenge those two ordinances in court,” Burn said. “It didn’t require a jury trial, but we did go before the judge and he ruled in our favor.”

He said the next step is for Wilmer’s city council to approve it, which they will meet Thursday, Aug. 22 to discuss it. As far as the city of Ferris is concerned, all that is needed is the establishment of a boundary agreement, which Burn said should not be a problem.

The council members also discussed the 2013-2014 budget and the tax rate. The agenda items were up for discussion only, with a vote scheduled to take place during the Sept. 3 meeting.

Burn informed the council members that he had a revised budget based on their last conversation. He added that working on the budget was a team effort that included the Director of Finance Melissa Garcia, and it will be beneficial to the city to have two staff members that know how to do it.

“Melissa and I worked really hard on putting this together,” Burn said. “We made several revisions that bring us into compliance with our independent auditor’s recommendations. It will now be easier to track revenues and expenditures for each department.”

The revisions that Burn and Garcia made to the budget involve changes to the general fund and the utility fund.

Burn said they revised the beginning general fund balance to predict the city’s bank account as of Sept. 30. They also revised some expenditures which included adding $30,000 to the finance building repairs, deducting $150 from senior services, deducting $45 from the information technology fund and adding $25,000 to streets. The total revisions for the general fund added up to $27,805.

As it pertained to the utility fund, they chose to add $6,000 to the Prairie Land Groundwater Conservation District.

When Burn made his presentation to the city council concerning the tax rate, he said it included the 2013 effective tax rate worksheet, the 2013 rollback tax rate worksheet and the 2013 property tax rate for the city of Ferris. He said that all three documents were prepared by the Ellis County Tax Office.

“The effective tax rate would impose the same total taxes as last year if you compare properties taxed both years,” he said. “The rollback tax rate is the highest tax rate we can set before taxpayers can start tax rollback procedures.”

Burn said the new effective tax rate of .0684301 is slightly lower than the city’s current tax rate of .687134.

“The budget I have prepared for discussion purposes maintains the current tax rate,” he said.

After giving council members several minutes to look over the information, Mayor Bill Pardue expressed his appreciation to Burn and Garcia for their hard work and diligence concerning the upcoming budget. He also said they (council members) had no objections to the revisions and they are looking forward to approving it at the next meeting.

Burn also introduced the newest patrol officer of the Ferris Police Department, Tommy Russell, to the city council members.

“Tommy joined our police department on Tuesday, Aug. 13,” Burn said. “He has experience with the Ralls Police Department and the Crosby County Sheriff’s Office.”

Russell, a graduate of the Navarro College Police Academy said he is looking forward to serving the city of Ferris and its residents.

In other action:

• the city council members recognized and presented certificates of citizen participation for previous board members

• discussed, considered and approved appointments and reappointments to various boards and commissions in the city of Ferris

• swore in newly appointed and reappointed board and commission members

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.