FERRIS — The City of Ferris is looking at a bond issuance for building a city complex to replace the police station, fire station and localize the various city office functions.
A presentation by Sara Cheek of Hilltop Securities during Monday's Ferris City Council Meeting opened the discussion by council members on financing options for the new city facilities.
"We looked at your current financial position with decreasing revenues from the methane resource and present debt obligations,” Cheek said.
"From the revenues realized from methane gas generated for the landfill, the city has seen these revenues decrease due to recent Internal Revenue Service changes in regulations of captured resources."
The findings gave the council one of three options for moving forward.
“We cannot increase the personal property tax rate,” Driggars informed Cheek and the council
A second plan proposed by Driggars would restructure $1.8 million in debt from a 2005 bond and add $350,000 in new general obligation bond debt.
“This is a viable plan to accomplish what the city needs,” said Lewis.
The proposed plan would meet the Ferris mayor's desire not to raise the city's present personal property tax rate. However, the city could see an increase in tax revenues due to increases in property values by the county.
This was a discussion item only with no action taken.
“We will finalize our plans at future meetings,” Driggars noted.
At the city council’s request, Chief Building Official, Bill Jordan gave a presentation on city-owned properties in the city. Jordan’s focus was vacant residential lots within the city limits.
“Presently we have twelve vacant lots in residential areas. Two of those are held by the Ferris 4A Economic Development board,” Jordan said. “[...] Tonight we are seeking direction for these properties.”
In response, Driggars said the the city does not have any plans for the two economic board owned lots.
"But we need to make a decision on the remaining lots. These lots are the property of the city and are not taxed. We have the opportunity to sell these to developers and get then on the tax rolls,” Driggars said.
Councilwoman Carol Wright asked Jordan to bring back a more comprehensive study and create a comprehensive plan of action.
Wright’s request was then articulated into a motion and unanimously approved.
In the open public forum time of the meeting, citizen Jessica Welling asked the council consider waiving library fees for Ferris Independent School District students that do not live within the city limits.
“Presently these students are paying a fee to use the library’s service. For many this is an important resource for their education. These children should have full access to be able to better themselves,” Welling said
There was no action due to her request, as it was not an agenda item.
The council also considered an offer to donate five surplus computers to a non-profit after-school program. Ferris ISD Information Technology Director Don Childers requested the board consider the donation rather that put the computers up for auction.
“The request comes from Councilwoman Carol Wright to donate the surplus computers. We normally put old computers out for bid in surplus auctions. They normally bring two to three dollars. I feel better doing this rather than going for bids,” Childers said.
“I think this is a good deal to do, but we need legal to review before we do this,” Driggars said.
A motion was made and unanimously approved to donate the surplus computers with the condition the city’s attorney review and approve the donation.