ITALY - City council members adopted a tax rate of $0.771111 for the 2007-2008 general operating fund and water operating fund at a workshop followed by a special meeting Thursday, Aug. 23.

Public hearings for the tax rate are set for Monday, Sept. 10, and Monday, Sept. 17.

The council tabled any action on the budget draft for the city and water departments after spending two hours going over both.

City Secretary Cynthia Olguin presented the first draft of the administration budget worksheet first.

Projected revenues are $833,000 while projected expenditures are $852,900. The council spent time searching for ways to trim the expenses but found just a few thousand dollars to make up the $24,303 difference.

The city’s bond payment and debt service for 2007-2008 is $170,000.

The budget includes a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for employees. It also includes the salary for a police chief, a senior officer, two patrol officers and another officer paid from seizure funds. Part-time city employees include an animal control officer, the street cleaner, a code enforcement officer and a part-time police secretary.

Olguin reported to the council that medical insurance has dropped $107 per month per employee.

She also discussed open records requests and indicated the city is required to keep track of how much time the city spends on them and any record request that exceeds 36 hours could be charged to the individual.

Water superintendent Mark Souder Jr. presented his proposed budget to the council. The revenue and expenditure are $894,800, a 9 percent increase over last year’s water and sewer budget. Souder told the council he expected a 4 percent increase in water sales this year.

The council discussed code enforcement duties and responsibilities but took no action.

The first of the two public hearings is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10.