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A WORD FROM THE MAYOR
Last time, we discussed how the City of Pearsall budget works and the financial requirements to run the city. City management and the council will move this process forward by finalizing the budget and making decisions on both funding and expenses for the coming year. By the end of September, the city budget must be voted on and approved by the council. This month, we are adjusting the budget to address the most pressing issues, but nothing is etched in stone yet.
Remember, a budget is a guide based on expectations for the coming year. It’s hard to predict every budget item perfectly, but using past years’ expenditures and future needs as a basis, we can come pretty close. Pearsall’s current tax base, the value of all real property inside the city limits, is $317 million. Last year it was $330 million. That loss in value means that the city will generate less revenue, with last year’s tax rate of $.86 per $100 value. In order to generate the same revenue as last year, we need to raise taxes to $.91 per $100, called our ‘no new revenue rate’. Cities may raise taxes 3.5 percent over their ‘no new revenue rate’ without voter approval. Anything over 3.5 percent requires voter approval through an election. This year we can raise taxes to $.94 without voter approval, but that doesn’t mean we will. Should we approve this rate of $.94, it will raise an additional $217,000 in revenue for the city, costing a homeowner with a $60,000 home approximately $55 extra in taxes annually. Additionally on the rate side, last year, the council agreed to a five-year utilities rate increase, resulting in slight rate increases over the remaining four years, which has been built into the current budget.
Anyone could point at specific expenses and suggest cuts, but we carefully review and consider each budget item while understanding and considering the entire budget as a whole. We are considering budgeting increases in some areas, all with supportable reasons.
I am at city hall every Wednesday afternoon. Pearsall citizens are welcome to come by and talk budget or any other city issue with me. There is more to this budget article but I’m outta space. So, like the cliff hanger movies of old, stay tuned until next time.
God Bless the City of Pearsall, the County of Frio, the State of Texas, the United States of America and You.
Ben T. Briscoe
Mayor of Pearsall