MIDLOTHIAN — Infrastructure improvements, streets repairs and staffing needs are just a few of the items that members of the Midlothian City Council are considering during annual budget meetings.
The city is proposing a budget of about $27.7 million in revenue and about $29 million in expenses from the general fund. To make up the short fall, approximately $1.4 million in fund balance will be used. The city is also looking at keeping $15.2 million on hand, which is 180 days in reserve operating funds.
Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick said the city will look to use the fund balance to cover some one-time expenses, such as street work and equipment.
“We have a very healthy fund balance based on some of the one time revenues from construction dollars. We are trying to kind of pull that down a little bit for some one-time expenses,” Dick said. “What we don’t do here is that we are not going to put on recurring costs using fund balance. Our current revenue needs to cover our ongoing expenses. When we get these excess revenues, we will try to identify some one time whether it be a street or something. We will try and go spend that.”
Dick said the city is proposing to keep the tax rate the same at $0.708244 per $100 valuation.
According to a notice posted on the city’s website, this budget will raise more property taxes than last year’s budget by $1,585,97, which is an 8.92 percent increase from last year’s budget. From that amount, $434,873 is tax revenue to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year.
Streets and Infrastructure
The city has identified 11-12 streets in need of rehabilitation. The work is mainly resurfacing, and will not include the replacement of water and sewer lines. The costs of the projects are about $1 million.
“We have got more streets in town and have more maintenance on those roadways. That is going to be a constant deal,” Dick stated. “What we are trying not to do is we don’t want to defer that type of stuff because it then catches you in the end. It is more expensive if you have to tear one out and have to redo it.”
In addition to the street work, the city is looking to do $480,000 worth of water-and-sewer line work during the next fiscal year.
With the amount of growth the City of Midlothian is experiencing, the need for city services is keeping pace. To meet the higher demands, the city has budgeted for several new positions in various departments.
“Some of the major things that we are looking at right now is the tremendous growth that our community is facing. So from an inspection stand point, because of the number of homes that we are building, we have got to try to keep up with that growth. So we are looking at (adding) a building inspector to keep up with this,” Dick explained. “We think that we could exceed 600 homes this year and don’t see that subsiding. We also think we could even see that same number next year. So another inspector would help to try to keep up with that.”
Some of the new positions that are currently in the budget include two animal control and code enforcement officers, four police officers, three firefighters, a geographic information systems technician to provide mapping services, a part-time staff member at the senior center and event specialists at the Midlothian Conference Center.
Along with the staffing needs, new equipment for several departments like building inspection, code enforcement and animal control and utilities is a part of this year’s budget. The estimated cost of the new equipment is $250,000.
The next step the process is that a public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 22 and Sept. 5 at Midlothian City Hall. Public hearings on the city’s annual operation budget will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 23 and Sept. 13 at city hall, located at 104 W. Ave. E. in downtown Midlothian.
Dick said he feels confident that the city is in sound financial shape and feels good about the programs and services the city is providing to residents in the next year.
For more information about the budget, people can contact the staff at city hall at 972-775-3481. Additional information can be found on the city’s website at www.midlothian.tx.us.