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A WORD FROM THE MAYOR
The city of Pearsall is in the middle of budget season. Admin and department heads spend hours poring over numbers and gathering data on financial needs for the budget year which runs from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2024.
The audit is due in April of each year and conducted by a certified CPA firm of the preceding year’s activities and it provides best practices advice, highlights areas we need to improve, and their professional opinion on where we stand, financially, as a city.
Every year we approve a balanced budget, our best estimate regarding what revenue and expenses will be for the coming year. We’ve operated on a combined budget of roughly $12 million annually for the last few years. Roughly sales and property taxes total about $5 million; fees, permits and fines total about $1 million and Utilities total roughly $6 million. Of that $12 million, $10 million operates the city and $2 million is used to pay debt. Today the city has roughly $12 million in debt.
City management has moved the city from a position of almost zero reserves to a place today where we have roughly three months of surplus cash on hand that is unencumbered. It’s our goal to have six months surplus cash on hand and we continue to work towards that.
This year, due primarily to a favorable increase in sales tax, we anticipate a higher revenue position. The city has a list of ten roads to replace and before the end of this fiscal year we will have replaced five of those at a cost of roughly $500,000.
Factors in prioritizing road work includes road condition, traffic or usage and the condition of the infrastructure under the road. We don’t want to replace a road and two years later dig it up to replace a water line. By my calculations, at the same cost we’ve repaired these five roads, it would cost around $30 million to fix every road in the city. It is a process, but we have budgeted more road replacement for next fiscal year.
The city is also in the running for numerous grants. Some of these will require a match of either a financial contribution or in-kind labor. We have been awarded a $2,100,000 grant for drainage related issues and we will be addressing some of our more dire drainage issues this year.
We have a Chamber of Commerce that has formed and is about to open. The Chamber will work autonomously of the city but will depend on the city for financial support during its infancy out of our Hotel/Motel Tax funds. We hope it becomes self-sufficient in the near future. The help, join the Chamber and support its work promoting and bringing development.
We will also be investing in major infrastructure on Business 35 north. This area was annexed by the city and we will providing water and sewer. The engineering work is done and we will be floating a bond soon to cover the cost, as it will be in the millions. We’ve also purchased the HardRock Drilling building and will be moving the service center from downtown by the railroad tracks to this new facility. Once we move, we anticipate selling the old service center.
I’m grateful for our city staff and council in their diligence in putting together a balanced budget that is key to meeting the needs of our citizens.
I’m available Wednesday afternoons at City Hall if anyone would like to talk. Call City Hall and set an appointment.
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