I would like to share my thoughts on the City of Fate’s proposed 2018-19 budget. It is important to remember the Fate budget process is a collaboration between the City Manager, City Staff, City Attorney,  Mayor, and the City Council. 

We spend over 10 hours together to discuss the 2018-19 budget line by line. Every question was answered by the appropriate parties, more than once, if needed. We discussed all of the proposed increases in City staff, including increasing our DPS staff.  

Just to be factual, the council was provided multiple updates throughout the process by our City Staff. The budget was modified to reflect the desires of the council. The proposed budget was reviewed by the entire Council before it was posted, including staff increases. 

To meet the needs of our citizens, we must establish budget priorities so the City makes the proper investments. My 2019 priorities are keeping our community safe, fixing our roads, promoting commercial development and renovating our downtown area. 

One of our top priorities is to fix and maintain our roads. To be clear, in Fiscal Year 2019, we will finish up the authorized road repairs, but we will need $4.3 million in FY 2020 for road repairs just to maintain the current condition of roads and to make necessary improvements. 

For example, adding $180,000 to the roads budget line item will extend the sidewalk 50/50 program and allow for curb repairs, while providing for some help in maintaining our roads.  Given the economic realities of a growing city, the Council will have to decide whether to ask our citizens for a bond to keep our roads safe or provide smaller incremental funding. 

The current draft budget, which is posted on the City of Fate’s website, has a 1.5 cent reduction in the city tax rate (0.2911 per $100 to 0.27609 per $100). The Council set the maximum tax rate at 0.2911 per $100, so your city tax rate for next year will not  increase. 

For the proposed lower tax rate, an average citizen will see about a $2 to $3 per month reduction in their property taxes, while the City will lose $180,000 in annual revenue to fix roads, manage wastewater runoff, or create a 50/50 curb program for our citizens. This is the dilemma!

Now, what are the next steps? The Council has our third budget workshop scheduled for August 18, 2018, at 9 a.m.  At that meeting, you will see me fighting for efficient local government for our citizens, while funding the priorities for our City. 

I believe a one cent to cent and half reduction is desired by our citizens, but I also understand many residents want to keep the current City tax rate (0.2911 per $100). If we keep the current tax rate, the  $240,000 in annual revenue could be allocated to road and storm water repairs. I also support an increase of the Over 65 tax exception from $25,000 to $50,000 for FY 2020

Please attend the meeting and let your voice be heard.  You may email any or all the City Council members or contact the City Manager by email to express your opinions. These are the various ways to make your voice heard and have a say in our city budget. Our budget decisions impact the entire community and our future. We need your input! 

 

Blessings to our great city, 

David Billings 

Mayor Pro Tem 

City of Fate