Grapevine’s proposed 2013-14 budget includes property tax rate reduction

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 includes a reduction in the property tax rate from $.345695 to $.342500 per $100 valuation, the addition of several city staff positions and the allocation of nearly $3 million for quality of life projects.

Last year’s general fund was $56.6 million and this year’s proposed budget is $58 million. The increased amount includes merit pay raises for city workers, motor fuel increases, cost of living increases and construction increases.

“The budget reflects a conservative approach for the next fiscal year and adequately funds our needs,” said Bruno Rumbelow, city manager.

The proposed budget does not include potential windfalls from the early completion of the DFW Connector Project. Numerous businesses were impacted by the lengthy construction and are looking to the anticipated end to the project in the next four to six weeks.

“Even though we are excited and enthusiastic and optimistic about the DFW Connector Project, we did not prepare the budget on that outcome,” said John McGrane, director of administrator services.

The city will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget at City Hall on Sept. 3. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the budget at a Sept. 10 meeting.

Rumbelow said the city is fortunate to have a strong budget, thanks in part to its many restaurants, Grapevine Mills mall, approximately 18-20 million visitors annually and being strategically located to DFW Airport and other venues.

The proposed budget contains funding for seven additional full-time positions, a recommended three percent merit pay increase for general employees and a five percent step pay increase for public safety employees. Also included is a one-time lump sum of up to three percent for employees at the top of their salary grade.

The proposed budget incorporates $2,809,000 funding for permanent capital maintenance and permanent street maintenance. Capital equipment, vehicle replacements and technology upgrades in the budget total $2,814,083.

The projected general fund transfer to the quality of life fund is $3 million. The proposed budget recommends funding projects totaling $2,854,057.

Quality of life proposals include $150,000 for Main Street holiday decorations and $200,000 for median landscaping, as well as monies for upgrades to several parks, including Lakeview, Oak Grove, Parr and Meadowmere.

“Throughout the upcoming year, we will continue to monitor and evaluate the city’s priorities and allocate resources appropriately so that we continue to deliver a positive program of operations for the city,” McGrane said.

Rumbelow addressed plans for an expanded city recreation center and the construction of a new public safety building.

On Nov. 6, residents approved the sale of almost $70 million in bonds for the two projects.

Proposition No. 1 was for bonds to construct a 108,000-square-foot public safety building to house the city’s municipal court, police detention center, law enforcement facilities and fire headquarters. Construction is estimated to cost $38.5 million.

Proposition No. 2 was for bonds to add 60,000 square feet to the recreation center. It will include a senior center, indoor pool, multipurpose rooms, game room, lockers, meeting rooms and other amenities. Plans are to move the senior activities center there. The estimated cost is about $30.1 million.

“We’re in both development and design now,” Rumbelow said. “We anticipate starting construction on both those projects sometime toward the mid- to late 2014.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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