Fiscal Year 2013 General Fund Budget Provides a Roadmap for the Future
Focused on maintaining key organizational strategies, strong fiscal management and a commitment to provide excellent community services, Missouri City Council Members voted unanimously to approve the $31.9 million Fiscal Year 2013 General Fund Budget during their June 18 meeting.
The financial plan takes effect July 1 and preserves the principal citizen priorities of public safety, economic growth and infrastructure improvements. “With this blueprint, City Council has given staff and residents a roadmap detailing what we will accomplish over the next year,” said City Manager Edward Broussard. “Council Members and management worked together on the plan, committed to finding feasible cost-cutting solutions that would both balance the budget and ensure citizens continue to receive quality services and benefit from quality programs.”
Highlights of the conservative 2013 plan:
*The budget is based on the tax rate remaining at 52.84 cents. Later this summer, the City will receive and review the final tax rolls and will approve the property tax rate at that time.
*The overall total, $31,902,653 million represents a $230,261 decrease from the $32.1 million 2012 spending plan.
*General Fund revenues are estimated at $31,419,440 and expenditures are estimated to be $31,902,653 million, plus a $1.8 million contingency.
*The current tax rate will remain at 52.84 cents, keeping the debt service rate at the current $0.18067. The result would reduce the Debt Service Fund Balance, leaving a surplus of $3,983,926 in the fund.
*City Council asked that the current Fund Balance reserve of $6,047,707 or 20 percent be adjusted to $6,598,082 or 21 percent and the contingency used to provide salary increases and adjustments for staff, following a market survey. The amount falls within the long-standing policy of maintaining a 15 percent to 25 percent fund balance.
*The largest expenditure line item increase was for fuel, oil and lubricants.
*Property tax collections are estimated to increase by $120,000 from last year.
*New revenue sources for FY2013 will come from a “Solid Waste Fee”, 5 percent of service costs, to be assessed to all commercial and residential solid waste customers. And, an “Emergency Response Fee”, which is to be charged when Missouri City police officers and firefighters assist in responding to major accidents in the area.
*Franchise fees are estimated to increase $376,000 primarily due to the solid waste fee; sales tax income is estimated to increase $500,000 based on a steady increase in collections, license and permits revenues and a slight rise in fines and forfeitures; intergovernmental revenues are estimated to grow by $261,000 due to the emergency response fee, increased alarm permit fees and additional fire district fees.
*Personnel costs account for $22,119,487 or 69 percent of the conservative plan; a 1.9 percent increase from the FY2012 final budget.
*Capital Improvement Program projects will again be a priority during the budget cycle and will be financed with existing funds and a proposed $1.4 million bond referendum to help defray costs for drainage projects. Priorities to benefit residents citywide will also include: sidewalk replacements, mobility projects such as Texas Parkway intersection upgrades and replacement of the El Dorado Bridge, construction of Fire Station No. 5, beautification of the City Hall Complex with landscaping, opening the City Centre at Quail Valley, developing new programming for the Recreation and Tennis Center, constructing the new Animal Shelter and continuing implementation of the Enterprise Resource Planning Program, a new user-friendly software system.
“This has not been an easy budget to develop for consideration, as there are many priorities from the Council and the Comprehensive Plan that need to be met while our revenue streams are limited,” Broussard explained. “Just as families sit around the table and decide how to spend their income to meet their needs, we did the same.”
Broussard said the budget development process began in January, with the Finance Department developing the current year’s estimates of expenses and base level expenses for the next fiscal year. Department directors became involved, determining preliminary numbers as the draft budget process continued.
In preparing the plan, staff focused on meeting the City’s financial challenges with continued flat property values. Managers evaluated all programs and services; utilized funding received from METRO for transportation projects and concentrated on continuing to provide high-quality services with existing tax dollars.
Residents can view the budget on the City’s website, www.missouricitytx.gov. For updates, watch the website and tune in to Missouri City Television, Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T U-verse.