Council OKs new budget
Tax rate unchanged, but water, sewer, sanitation going up
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Sept. 28, 2005 -- After meeting at least seven times to prepare the budget for the city for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1, members of the Sulphur Springs City Council gave final approval to a $24.242 million budget and left the property tax rate unchanged.

While the financial plan will not increase the tax rate, it does contain increases in rates charged for water, sewer and sanitation services.

Two last minute additions to the budget also had support of the council. One contained another $130,000 for repainting the water tower on College Street.

�The council had approved $170,000 to begin with,� City Manager Marc Maxwell explained. �There were two ways we could do the water tower. We could pressure wash it and paint it, or sandblast it and paint it.�

The more expensive option, sandblasting the tank down to the bare metal, making any needed repairs and repainting the tower, was selected by the council as being most advantageous to the city.

Part of the additional cost will be covered by an increase in water sales during the dry summer.

The other addition approved by the council was another $150,000 written into the final budget to cover costs to the city as a result of housing a large number of evacuees from Louisiana.

�It is really a pass-through deal,� Maxwell said. �We show it as an expenditure and a grant from FEMA in the same fund.�

Increases of 8 percent in rates charged for water, sewer and sanitation will pay for salary increases given firefighters and police last year.

Final budget figures show the city will still have to tap reserve funds for more than $1.6 million in the next year. An overall increase in property values, however, will allow the city to maintain the current tax rate of 44 cents per $100 property value.

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