MIDLOTHIAN — Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick presented the Midlothian City Council with a comprehensive preview of the 2017-18 budget during its regular session Tuesday night in advance of the upcoming budget workshops.
Dick told the council the “budget goals need to provide for projected growth while maintaining adequate fund balances the protect the city’s bond rating."
"We need to ensure that all critical assumptions are conservative so that our finances remain strong," he explained. "We need to base initiatives on priorities established by the city council via policy decisions and adopted plans.”
Budget priorities presented by Dick to the board included funding road rehabilitation to maintain infrastructure and improve public safety, continued investment in city staff keeping abreast of market, and enhancing retention and recruitment with the implementation of a compensation study.
Dick stated that the last priority was a need for an enhancement of public safety and emergency response programs.
"We will achieve this through additional staffing in the police and fire departments and the creation of a commercial motor vehicle unit,” Dick said.
Other priorities to be considered will include parks and recreation programs, enhanced community service, and an improved building inspection department.
“The city’s property-tax base continues to grow. Midlothian’s property tax base increased by 10.65 percent this year following last year’s increase of 8.92 percent. The certifiable tax base from the Ellis (Central) Appraisal District on July 20 was $3,024,514,484,” Dick said “[...] Sales tax revenue is steady with a 57-percent growth in five years. We are budgeting for a five-percent growth for 2017-18."
According to Dick, the general fund revenues for the upcoming budget is estimated to be $27,679,262.
“This is a 7.6-percent increase over last year," he added.
Budget workshops are scheduled for July 28, Aug. 1, 4 and 8 with the rollback and tax rates to be published Aug. 9.
There will also be three public hearings pertaining to the new tax rate held Aug. 22, Sept. 5 and Sept. 12, with the latter focused on the annual operation budget.
The Fourth of July parade float winners were recognized by Midlothian Mayor Bill Houston, as well as Gina Moore, the City of Midlothian Parks and Recreations Special Events Coordinator.
The Grand Marshall's award went to One Way Church, while the Judges Choice and Mayor's award went to Routine Baseball Factory. Earthtones Greenery was the winner of the "best-motorized float" and the "best non-motorized" award went to Helen Stahnke Realtor. The best decorated overall winner was the Midlothian Girls Softball Association and the "best-decorated downtown business" award went to 4L Marketplace.
The council also unanimously approved a $79,950 request by Midlothian Police Chief Carl Smith to purchase communications equipment for the department to meet the 700 megahertz requirements.
“This request includes equipment that was approved for purchase after October of 2016 and not included in the original contract," Smith said. "[...] This equipment will be going into new vehicles due for replacement as well as approved traffic unit personnel. We will be placing units is dispatch in the event there is a power loss at the station."
Other action approved by the council included:
The construction of a fence into a five-foot landscape easement situated in McAlpin Manor. Phase one was unanimously approved. Following an executive session, settlement offers were approved for five property owners on Oak Tree lane and one on Rolling Wood Drive for alleged property damage caused by the city. The item was unanimously approved. A resolution to deny ONCOR’s application to increase rates was unanimously approved An interlocal agreement between the city and the Midlothian Independent School District for the assignment was unanimously approved. An interlocal cooperative purchasing agreement with the City of University Park. An interlocal cooperative purchasing agreement with the City of University Park.