As expected, Sulphur Springs city council approved, on first reading Tuesday night, ordinances setting the city's tax rate as well as water, sewer and sanitation rates for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Council members, on a motion by Craig Johnson, approved keeping the city's tax rate at 44 cents per $100 assessed property value.
In making the motion, Johnson specified the tax rate would raise more taxes for maintenance and operations than last year.
The tax rate, based on an increase in property values, will generate 1.01 percent more this year than last year. The increase on a home valued at $100,000 will be approximately $3.31.
The revenue generated by a 44 cent tax rate will fund a proposed budget of almost $25 million for the financial year.
Approval was also given, on first reading, to increases of 1.75 percent in water, sewer and sanitation rates.
City Finance Director Peter Karstens told the council the rates were in line with the Consumer Price Index.
Member Craig Johnson asked when the current sanitation contract would expire and was told by city staff there were three years remaining.
With an eye to the future of the downtown area, the council approved, on second and final reading, the adoption of the latest version of the International Building Code.
For a number of years, the city has applied the standards of the International Building Code and, in 2009, began using the International Existing Building Code to facilitate renovation of many historic buildings in the downtown area.
The IBC is applied in the construction of new buildings and the existing building code covers existing structures.
City Manager Marc Maxwell said there will be no obvious changes to the current building codes.
“According to our chief building official, this is the first time in history we've seen a building code that is a little more lax than the previous code,” he said. “It is more user friendly.
Police Chief Jim Bayuk presented the council with a summary of his department's asset forfeiture budget for the coming year.
The chief said he had $97,000 in the fund and was expecting proceeds from at least two additional cases now being processed by the district attorney's office.
Of that amount, Bayuk said he was planning expenditures of $92,500 for equipment and vehicles for the department.
The chief also told the council that District Attorney Will Ramsay and his staff had been busy clearing a number of old forfeiture cases, some dating back to 2004. Due to the increased effort by the district attorney, Bayuk said the revenue from forfeitures would be shared with the district attorney on a 70-30 basis rather than the customary 75-25 split.
Five people were appointed to serve until fiscal year 2015 on the city’s Revolving Loan Fund board. Those appointed were John Sellers, G.V. Hughes, Marc Maxwell, Jeff Fisher and Craig Johnson.
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