Beeville City Council members took no action on utility rate increases Tuesday night, tacitly setting the stage for a 2-cent per $100 of assessed value property tax increase.
Councilmen will take formal action on a proposed tax increase when they meet next Tuesday evening at City Hall. That rate is expected to be $0.58954 per $100 of assessed value of property within the city limits.
The city’s current effective property tax rate is $0.56954.
A majority of council members already had made up their minds to increases taxes and leave utility rates alone in earlier budget workshops after Councilman David Carabajal pointed out that the tax increase would cost citizens less than an increase in utility rates and still provide the city with enough money for some higher ending balances in the general fund and utility fund at the end of the coming fiscal year.
The budget allows the city to give municipal employees a 2 percent, across-the-board pay increase for next year.
Only Mayor Kenneth Chesshir had held out, arguing against any kind of tax increase this year. But in the end he voted along with Mayor Pro Tem John Fulghum, Carababal and Councilman Mike Scotten to take no action on the proposed utility rate increases. Councilman Jimbo Martinez was not at Tuesday’s meeting.
Councilmen then voted unanimously to approve 2008-09 fiscal year budgets for both the general and utility funds. The projected ending balance in the city’s general fund is expected to be $126,000 and the balance in the genral fund is expected to be $91,000.
The general fund budget was passed after Fulghum made several recommendations regarding the salary the city would be paying Beeville Main Street Program Manager Molly Young.
Fulghum recommended reducing the salary from the proposed $45,500 a year to $42,500 a year. Fulghum said the intent was to reduce impact of the salary on the city’s hotel-motel tax funds and to reduce the amount of money that would have to be paid out in payroll taxes and other employee expenses associated with the position. He then proposed that Young be given a $1,500 vehicle allowance to make up for the reduction.
Councilmen voted to approve those recommendations but only after Scotten recommended that the city reimburse any of the other entities sharing in the cost of continuing the Main Street Program buy a similar amount if those entities request it.
The Bee Development Authority, the Beeville Economic Improvement Corporation and the Beeville Tax Increment Finance District board have budgeted $20,000 each to help fund the program.
Fulghum’s recommendation will mean that the city will put up a little more than $8,000 from its hotel-motel occupancy tax funds instead of the originally proposed $12,500.
None of the money used to fund the program will come from the city’s general fund. Young also will receive the 2-percent pay increase along with other city employees.