ENNIS — Members of the city commission got their first look Monday at the plan and design layout of the city’s Veterans Memorial Park. 

Larry Fincher, representing the Ennis Memorial Veterans Park Committee, described the proposed design plan to the commissioners. Several veterans who were also on the committee for the presentation joined him.

“We were very pleased the city chose to honor our veterans with this park,” Fincher said.

The estimated cost of the construction is between $150,000 and $200,000, according to Howerton. The group plans to raise funds for the park through donations and selling memorial bricks for the walkways. Presently the committee has raised approximately one-fourth of the funds.

Commenting on the design, “I feel very good about the design and feel it is very appropriate,” Mayor Russell Thomas said.

The memorial will form a star shape with points representing the five branches of the military. Also represented in the design and landscape will be the major conflicts dating back to World War II.

Commissioners unanimously approved the final vote on the city’s budget and tax rate.

Following staff recommendation to accept, both passed by a unanimous vote.

The votes followed the second and final reading of the ordinances. The first reading for both the tax rate and the budget was held on Sept. 6. There were no changes since the first reading

The budget approved totaled $24,514,010, of which $16,198,664 is allocated to the general fund and $8,315,356 allocated for water and sewer.

The General Fund includes an operating expense budget of $12,608,505 and a capitol outlay of $107,400. The remainder is general obligation bond debt payments of $3,482,759.

In the Water and Sewer Fund, the total operating expenses approved was $5,981,090.

Operating expenses comprised the bulk of the utilities budget. 

Planned for the upcoming fiscal year are capitol expenses of $35,800.

The Interest and Sinking Expenses were projected to be $2,298,466.

To fund the budget, the commissioners approved a tax rate of $0.6950. This rate will raise more taxes for maintenance and operations than last years tax rate. The tax rate will effectively be raised by 4.49 percent.

The effect on a $100,000 home will mean an increase of approximately $12.10. 

The commissioners also unanimously approved the tax roll for the city of Ennis for the fiscal year of 2012.

The Ellis County Tax Appraisal District certified the city’s taxable value as slightly over $1.3 billion. The tax generated by the county’s calculation is $9,310,719.   

In other action, members of the commission unanimously approved the city’s selling of surplus vehicles and equipment.

Bids were requested from the city on 16 vehicles and three pieces of equipment. Howerton recommended the commissioners accept the bids on each of the item scheduled.

During the Workshop session, Howerton said the city’s financial conditions are right for the city to move forward with the Street Bond Program. Since 2008, there has been a three percent increase in the cost to issue the bonds. But offsetting the increase could be the cost of concrete coming down due to slowed construction.

Howerton proposed the commission revisit the project setting the priority of the streets to be repaired or replaced.

The study would take three to four months, according to Howerton. 

The schedule outlined by Howerton would be a spring 2012 bond sale and construction starting on phase one on late 2012 or early 2013. He added the city’s financial is in good shape to fund this project and he feels the city is in a position to move forward.