The Waxahachie City Council discussed proposed changes and different departmental budgets during Tuesday’s workshop meeting, with no action taken on the proposed budget.

The total expenditures for the proposed 2011-2012 fiscal year budget is $23,842,976.

 “Based on our budget work session last week, we revised the (proposed) general fund budget to include a purchasing manager in the finance department and allocated $250,000 to the economic development department,” city manager Paul Stevens said. “Additionally, we had to add approximately $8,000 to the fire department for the operations of the new fire station when it opens. In the water department, we also increased the electricity expenditure to $650,000.”

The fund balance is estimated to be $7,230,811, which translates to 116 days of operating expenditures. One day of operating cost for the city is $59,633. Revenues are budgeted to increase by 10 percent over the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget to $23,759,046.

Sales tax is projected to increase by 3 percent of the end of the year estimate of $7,930,000.

Transfers will be made from water fund in the amount of $1,345,000 and $945,000 from the wastewater fund to the general fund. 

Stevens told the council the proposed tax rate for the 2011-2012 fiscal year is recommended to stay at last year’s rate of $0.68 per $100 valuation and the effective tax rate is $0.69 per $100 valuation. The tax rate and the city’s budget are expected to be approved at the Sept. 19 council meeting.

During the discussion, councilman Mark Singleton said services funded by the city’s tax dollars need to be looked at, have a clearly defined purpose, mission statement and city oversight. Singleton talked about the need for this specifically relating to the Waxahachie Senior Center and Nicholas P. Sims Library.

“The basic concept that I’m trying to promote is that these organizations should have some responsibility for themselves to build services and programs generated from the fees of the people who use the facility,” Singleton said. “I was asked to serve as a councilman and to try and bring principals I use in my business every day to this organization. This is one of the very simple principles to evaluate what is there and establish a clear mission with objectives and to stick to those things. When things don’t cut it, you have to cut them. It is not harsh, it is just life.”

Singleton suggested that volunteers at the senior center could help to reduce operating costs by taking ownership in the center by assisting with the opening and closing of the building each day.

Stevens said volunteers are already in place at the center who work with center director Jeanee Smiles and two part-time employees. These volunteers help run the programs offered at the center with the exception of yoga and zumba. For those classes the city pays the instructors and members pay a fee to attend.

In other business, the council discussed using a portion of the remaining $2 million in bond funds from the civic center and sports complex project to make a $1.4 million debt service payment. Projected revenue for the civic center is expected to increase by $20,000 with the addition of several events. The revenue at the sports complex’s revenue is expected to increase by $50,000 with the addition of several baseball tournaments.

Under the proposed budget, residents would see an increase in their water rates of 8.5 percent; no increase in the wastewater rate has been recommended. During the discussion on the refuse fund budget, council members discussed a possible increase of $1.75 on the garbage bill to help with road repair.

The council discussed the hotel/motel fund budget and the convention and visitors bureau moving over as a function of the city. Stevens said the CVB plans to adopt a nine-month budget in January after its current budget runs out in December. This would put the CVB in line with other city departments for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. 

The budget will be up for adoption at the Sept. 19 council meeting, which takes place at 7 p.m. at City Hall, located at 401 S. Rogers St.

Contact Andrew at andrew.branca@wninews.com or 469-517-1451.