Council balances budget without tax increase

Posted Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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After several City Council meetings as well as special and work sessions over the last couple months, Weatherford staff decided to balance the budget for the next year without adding a tax increase.

The increase was proposed so the city could add funding to the streets department so repairs could be made and the streets maintained.

In July, staff presented a 2-percent increase, lowered to a 1.35 percent increase in early August, but still council members rejected the raise.

“I don’t think we have turned over every rock,” council member Heidi Wilder said at a July council meeting.

Instead of enforcing a tax increase, the council encouraged Chad Janicek, director of management and budget, to look for other ways to save money that could be donated to the street funds.

At the Aug. 27 council meeting, council members proposed certain changes that could save the city money.

At a work session on Sept. 3, the council gave their response to those propositions.

The city decided to postpone the addition of a part-time floating position that could be shared by departments during peak times.

Not adding that position will save almost $13,000, which will instead be used in street maintenance.

Other options the city considered included adjusting the human resources salary and trimming the funds for cutting the grass along the new Ric Williamson Memorial Highway. The council decided neither should be cut or adjusted.

Another proposal involved cutting some of the $1 million budget the library receives, at the risk of losing their accreditation and chance for status and grants.

Library Services Director Dale Fleeger said they could afford to cut $20,000 from their budget yet still hold on to their accreditation.

Several members of the community attended the meeting to speak against a cut of the library’s funds.

“I know there’s some very difficult decision to make,” resident Bill Warren said.

But he and others suggested that the decision not be made to cut the library funds.

The council decided not to make any cuts at all so the library volunteers and employees would not have to use their own funds for training or other events.

“We just need to make sure our library is spending as frugally as the other departments,” council member Jeff Robinson.

The council members decided at the meeting that the changes made to save money will provide sufficient funds for the street department, as well as all other areas.

The street department budget increased from about $600,000 the last fiscal year to almost $900,000 for the upcoming year.

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