Mansfield looking at budget increases

07/21/2014 10:36 PM

07/21/2014 10:37 PM

The city’s tax revenues could go up more than 5 percent and expenses about 4 percent in the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to preliminary projections presented at a City Council work session Monday.

Building permit fee revenues could increase 9.5 percent compared with the current year, reflecting the continuing recovery of the local and national economy, City Manager Clayton Chandler and Finance Director Peter Phillis told council members.

Property tax revenue is expected to increase by nearly 7 percent, sales tax revenue by about 3 percent and franchise fee revenue, paid mostly by utility companies, by nearly 4 percent.

“We are well above what we anticipated a couple of years ago,” Phillis said. “The recovery has some stability.”

The city’s current general operating budget of $41.9 million was 9 percent larger than the 2012-13 budget.

The council plans to meet July 29 to get more budget details.

Also at the meeting, the council gave final approval to a more detailed definition of “school” in a city ordinance.

Officials of a potential development just south of the Vernon Newsom Stadium on Texas 360 asked for the definition so that they can determine whether the city’s ban on alcohol sales within 300 feet of a school would apply to the project.

In the new definition, a building would not be considered a school unless it had classrooms, principal’s office and other traditional school features. By that definition, the stadium would not be considered a school under the city’s alcohol regulations.

City officials would not discuss details of the development, saying its officials were concerned that publicity could jeopardize the pending land sale.

City Planning Director Felix Wong said that when city voters approved alcohol sales about 10 years ago, the city adopted provisions of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s regulations as written, which left school undefined.

The vote was 6-1, with Darryl Haynes voting against.

“My ‘no’ vote isn’t against the project,” Haynes said in an interview. “My vote is against watering down state laws when they concern the protection of our children and community.”

Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641

Twitter: @Kaddmann

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