Fate City Council adopted the proposed budget and tax rate for fiscal year 2019-2020 at last Tuesday night’s special meeting.
The property tax rate for the coming fiscal year is 28.0656 cents per $100 valuation, setting the rate to the rollback rate - the maximum rate allowed by law before voters can petition for a vote to limit the increase. Fiscal year 2019-2020’s tax rate dropped about one cent from the current rate of 29.11 cents per $100 valuation.
With the lowered property tax rate for the coming fiscal year, starting Oct. 1, the city budget is set to raise more revenue from property taxes than last year’s budget by 8.51 percent, or $299,234 after a majority of council members voted to approve the property tax increase reflected in the budget.
The lowered property tax rate comes after the council cut $639,000 from the now-approved budget upon overwhelming input from Fate residents at budget workshops, town hall meetings and opinions on social media. A number of those who voiced their opinions sought to lower the tax rate originally proposed of 32.8383 cents per $100 valuation and questioned the necessity of particular items in the budget including parks funding, an update of the comprehensive plan and two outdoor emergency sirens.
Of the cuts made, the largest were:
-- $225,000 cut to update to the comprehensive plan
-- $159,000 from the parks department that would have been sued as funds to match park development fees
-- $60,000 from the two outdoor emergency sirens, leaving around $20,000 in the budget to help fund the siren purchase in the future
The updated and approved 2019-2020 budget includes just more than $34.8 million in total funding for the city, according to ordinance passed to adopt the budget. Toward the end of the half-hour special meeting, Mayor Joe Burger thanked those involved in the budgeting process.
“Thank the city staff for a great deal of hard work, blood, sweat and tears,” Burger said. “Michael, for getting into this, thank you for that, and for all the involvement from the citizens. Ready for new things, bigger and brighter.”
In other business, the council also approved annual administrative service, emergency service program and ambulance cost for the Rockwall County Emergency Services Corporation, whose funds are under the budget for Fate Department of Public Safety. The funds for the year total about $18,500 for the services.
“We’re going to pay $18,585 for Rockwall EMS, which is an extremely great deal for the city,” Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember Place 5 Davide Billings said. “I just want to point out that we do spend a lot of time trying to figure out better ways to do good business for Fate and Rockwall County.”
Mayor Burger also read a proclamation naming the week of Sept. 17-23, 2019 “Constitution Week,” at the request of Peggy Atterberry, past regent of the Rockwall Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, who was there to receive the signed proclamation.