Council preparing for budget talks

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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As Weatherford’s new fiscal year approaches, the city staff has begun to prepare a proposed budget for the council to consider.

During the July 9 City Council meeting, Chad Janicek, the director of management and budget, gave an update on the progress made and gave some details of the budget. One of those details is the consideration of raising property tax.

“It’s not something I take lightly,” City Administrator Jerry Blaisdell said of the possible 2 cent increase – something he said he thought he would never consider.

Janicek said the proposed budget is a result of accepting requests and goals and those are then prioritized.

Janicek explained that the parks department has been in need of more funding recently, seen in the fact that two of the five positions are on hold.

The other concern is funding for street repairs in the city.

Janicek said both departments have taken steps to reduce costs but they have not made up for past cuts and other expenses.

“I do not know how to meet some of the goals you have asked me to meet with the dollars we have,” Blaisdell said of the tighter budget this year.

Janicek said a 2-cent property tax increase would bring in about $300,000 to be dedicated to the parks positions and street repairs.

“I don’t like the sound of a tax increase,” council member Jeff Robinson said.

Mayor Dennis Hooks agreed, saying he would prefer another solution. But he said he also understands it might be necessary.

Council member Heidi Wilder said she first wants staff to check every other possible way they could make cuts and save money elsewhere so the funds can be found without raising taxes.

“I don’t think we have turned over every rock,” Wilder said.

Janicek said the administration has already made some adjustments that have freed up funds but not enough yet.

In 2008, the city had to make several cuts in the budget and increase some tax rates because of a 10 percent reduction in sales tax revenue. Although that revenue is back up, Janicek said the city still needs to generate more income.

A public hearing will be held before anything is changed so citizens can be informed and give their input.

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