The Robstown city council adopted a $7.2 million budget for the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year Monday, and set a tax rate that is expected to bring in an additional 5.54 percent in revenue this year.
The total budget for the 2008-2009 Fiscal Year is $7,206,312. That budget includes a mandated increase in the minimum wage salary to $7.25 per hour in July 2009, and a "restoration account" of $372,283 to help the city balance the budget against previous debt.
The tax rate adopted by the council Monday was $.999748 per $100 valuation, which is expected to bring in $2,284,431 in revenue this year. That rate is nearly identical to last year's rate, although it is five cents higher than the effective rate of $.947239 per $100 valuation.
The effective rate is the rate necessary to collect the same tax revenue as the previous year, with adjustments made for increased property valuations.
The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance that would lead to an increase in fees collected for sewer and sewer disposal services in the city. According to information provided by the city, wastewater rates have remained unchanged since October 2001, and the Utility Board is now recommending a phased increase over the next several years. According to a 2007 audit, the city's wastewater department has recorded deficits in the past four years, including a $314,020 deficit in 2007 alone. The proposed increases approved by the city Monday include adjusting fixture fees from the current rate of $1.85 for residential, $1.71 for general service and $1.79 for large general service to $4.23 for residential, $8.10 for general service and $6.15 for large general service. Further rate increases will be phased in over the next 15 years.
In other business Monday, the council approved the first reading of an ordinance designating the area of the proposed outlet mall as a "Reinvestment Zone." That move will allow the city to use any taxes collected within that zone to provide economic incentives, eventually totaling $14 million, to the outlet mall developer. Once that $14 million mark is met, taxes collected from the site will be paid to the city. A second reading of the ordinance is expected in the council's next meeting.
The council also authorized a personal services contract between the city, the Robstown Utility Systems, the Robstown Improvement Development Corporation and former county judge Terry Shamsie.
Under the one-year, $90,000 contract, Shamsie will provide professional planning, financial strategy assistance and will educate and train city staff.
The council also approved an audit proposal brought by Ernest R. Garza to conduct the city's financial audit for Fiscal Year 2007-2008.
The cost of the audit, which will be prepared by Nov. 20, is set at $25,500.
The council also authorized a request for proposals to be issued for the purchase of a new vehicle for the Animal Control Department.
A number of resolutions were also issued by the council during Monday night's meeting.
Those included a joint resolution between State Representative Abel Herrero and State Representative Solomon P. Ortiz Jr. honoring the late Gene Upshaw, a city resolution honoring Robstown educator Virginia Rawlins for her 35 years of service, and a resolution proclaiming September as "National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month."
The council also issued a resolution approving an application for a Texas Community Development Block Grant that could bring in $300,000 in grant money for sewer improvements to the city.
An additional resolution approved by the council expressed official intent to reimburse costs of city projects from tax-exempt obligations, which will allow the city to use current city funds to pay for projected bond projects and later reimburse that money, officials said.