MIDLOTHIAN – Midlothian City Council members approved the budget and the tax rate for the new fiscal year in two unanimous votes at the Tuesday night meeting.

The new fiscal year for the City of Midlothian starts Oct. 1.

“In general we have got a very big focus on providing public safety services and the critical services that we are seeing right now with our growth that we need to stay in front of. Infrastructure is a big piece of that with roadways,” Midlothian City Manager Chris Dick said. “On the utility side, we have some plans to update our water-meter program and water and sewer line upgrades around town. There is a lot of infrastructure and public safety programs in the budget.”

Dick added that the city is going to hire six new firefighters, five new police officers, a building inspector, and personnel for code enforcement and animal control. In addition, the city has budgeted $1 million to rehabilitate 11-12 streets.

The budget is about $27.7 million in revenue and is about $29 million in expenses in the general fund. To make up the short fall, about $1.4 million in fund balance will be used. The city is keeping $15.2 million on hand, which equals 180 days in reserve operating funds.

“We are very strong financially. As typical, we have a conservative approach to the budget. We are still looking to maintain a healthy fund balance. Obviously, our growth continues to be strong residentially and commercially,” Dick stated. “Right now things look good from a financial standpoint. Of course, we will continue to monitor that and if things change we will adapt accordingly. But right now we are very strong.”

The city council also adopted the tax rate of $0.708244 per $100 valuation and approved a property tax revenue increase. This increase will raise more property taxes than last years budget by $2,090,857, which is a 10.81 percent increase. Of that total, $773,985 is tax revenue is to be raised from new property added to the tax roll this year.

Following the regular session, the council convened into executive session. Upon returning to open session, the council approved a settlement with a resident for property damage that took place at 3830 Oak Tree Lane for $18,930.83. The council took no action after conducting an evaluation of the city manager and city secretary.

In other business the council

• Approved a resolution authorizing Creekside Manor Haunted House for an event each Friday and Saturday from Sept. 29-Oct. 28 and Oct. 30-31 in accordance with a special event permit.

• Approved a resolution authorizing the “I Run This Town 5K and Health Festival" to take place on Oct. 28 in accordance with a special event permit.

• Approved an ordinance for the city to provide $70,000 for residential homestead exemption for persons 65-years of age or older from all ad valorem taxes hereafter levied. It also provided an exemption for disabled veterans based upon their degree of disability and repeals conflicting ordinances and resolutions.

• Approved a request to allow direct residential driveway access to Plainview Road relating to the development of three lots.

• Approved a second amendment to the agreement for the sale and delivery of treated water to Sardis-Lone Elm Water Supply Corporation to the city.

• Approved a service contract between the city and Pape Air Conditioning to provide maintenance and minor repair service for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment citywide.

• Approved a one-year contract with Ellis County Emergency Services District 2 to provide fire and EMS response.

• Approved a development located on the west side of Hayes Road that would contain 160 residential lots.

• Approved an ordinance amending the use and development regulations of planned development district 98 by reapportioning the amount of open space, common areas, residential acreage and adopted a new site plan. The development is located on the northeast corner of Walnut Grove and Farm-to-Market Road 1387.