Tight city budget promises utility increases
By LPR Staff
During an extremely brief Tuesday evening meeting, the Lockhart City Council got their first look at the proposed 2016-2017 fiscal year budget.
As is the standard for the summer months, the Council set up a variety of budget workshops and special meetings to review the facts and figures in depth ov
er the next several weeks, in advance of the Sept. 6, 2016, public hearing when the final budget will be presented to the public.
The initial figures presented by Finance Director Jeff Henson promise a “tight budget,” with increases in few areas. Most notably, according to figures presented to council, the present budget does not include pay increases for most city employees and assumes an increase of 1 – 2.5 percent of total utility bills.
The increase, Hinson said, is necessary to cover General Fund expenses. Without it, a 4 – 5 cent tax rate increase.
Henson noted the figures will likely change as the Caldwell County Appraisal District releases the certified tax rolls later this month, at which time city staff can review the budget and current tax rates.
The Council will meet on July 12, July 19 and July 28 to hear presentations from various city departments regarding their budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year.
All budget workshops will begin at 6 p.m. in the third floor council chambers at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library Complex.
In other business, the Council approved an ordinance that will partner the City of Lockhart with several other municipalities throughout the region under Texas Gas Service. If approved by the Texas Railroad Commission, the creation of the new partnership could result in up to an 11 percent decrease in residential gas service rates.
They also approved change orders to extend two water transmission lines that are currently under construction under the 2015 Community Development Block Grant project. Both change orders, according to City Manager Vance Rodgers, are well within the original budget for the project.
The Lockhart City Council routinely meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the third floor council chambers of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library Complex. The meetings are open to the public and are televised on Time Warner Digital Cable Channel 10.