Notes from budget workshop No. 3 (Wednesday)

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The College Station City Council had the last of three workshops regarding the proposed FY15 city budget Wednesday afternoon at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility.

Monday’s session covered general budget issues, the general fund and general government capital projects. Tuesday’s session focused on utility funds and the Northgate Parking Fund.

Wednesday’s session covered outside agency funding, and governmental and special funds. The meeting was called to order at 3:10 p.m. and was adjourned at 6:14 p.m.

Outside Agency Funding

The city funds several outside agencies that provide services for citizens. The amount of funding for each agency depends on council direction and the availability of funds. Agencies have been funded from various funds, including the General Fund, Community Development Fund, Hotel Tax Fund, and Sanitation Fund. Total proposed FY15 Outside Agency funding by the City of College Station is $3.56 million.

  • General Fund
    • Research Valley Partnership: $350,000
    • Arts Council of Brazos Valley (O&M): $50,000
    • Noon Lions Club: $10,000
    • Aggieland Humane Society: $205,000
    • Brazos County Health District: $326,500
    • Brazos County Appraisal District: $262,507

  • Sanitation Fund
    • Keep Brazos Beautiful: $52,740

A total of $2.15 million of hotel tax funding is proposed for outside agencies.

  • Hotel Tax Fund
    • Arts Council of Brazos Valley (affiliate funding): $386,400
    • Convention & Visitors Bureau: $1.32 million
    • Convention & Visitors Bureau (grant program): $250,000
    • Veterans Memorial: $15,000
    • B-CS Chamber of Commerce: $25,000

Recreation Fund

Established in FY11, the Recreation Fund identifies costs and revenues associated with various recreational sports, aquatics, community centers and instruction programs. Ultimately, the fund will help identify how much the General Fund subsidizes these programs.

  • Current Parks Fee Policy
    • Full fee support (80-100 percent)
      • Cemetery
    • Partial fee support I (50-80 percent)
      • Adult sports programs
    • Partial fee support II (20-50 percent)
      • Youth programs and activities
    • Minimum fee support (0-20 percent)
      • Other parks, recreational and cultural programs.
  • Expenditures: $3.21 million
    • Sports programs: $1.21 million
    • Aquatics: $1.07 million
    • Instruction: $147,438
    • Southwood and Lincoln centers: $741,511
  • FY15 Subsidy: $2.24 million
  • FY15 One-Time Service Level Adjustment: $33,500
    • Adamson Lagoon Repairs.
  • Total Subsidy: $2.28 million

Debt Service Funds

The City strives to only issue debt to meet capital needs. The proposed FY15 debt service portion of the tax rate is 19.3053 cents per $100 of valuation. This proposed FY15 debt service portion of the tax rate is the same as the FY14 debt service portion of the tax rate.

  • FY14 property tax rate (debt service): 19.3053 cents
  • FY15 property tax rate (debt service): 19.3053 cents
  • Property Tax Revenue: $12.61 million
  • Satisfies FY 15 debt service requirement.
  • 66 percent of cemetery debt service paid from FY15 tax rate.

Economic Development Fund

The Economic Development Fund accounts for funds that are to be used to attract and retain businesses. Revenue for the Economic Development Fund is collected from the General Fund.

  • General Fund transfer – $375,000
    • Increase to meet future commitments.
  • FY14 Expenditures – $514,245
    • Current obligations.

Chimney Hill Fund

In FY09, Hotel Tax Funds were used to purchase the Chimney Hill property for the purpose of building a convention center. In FY11, council determined that it no longer intends to construct a convention center on the purchased property and the property was put up for sale. Council approved the purchase & sale agreement of the Chimney Hill property between the City, Research Valley Partnership, and PM Realty Group in late December for $7.5 million. The sale is expected to take place early in FY15, with the proceeds — as well of the balance of the Chimney Hill Fund — to be transferred to the Hotel Tax Fund. A total of $9.33 million is included in the proposed budget for this transfer.

  • Rents and royalties
    • Tenants at Chimney Hill: $34,194
    • Proceeds from sale of facility: $7.5 million
  • FY14 Expenditures
    • Facilities maintenance: $6,667
    • Transfer to Hotel Tax Fund: $9.33 million

Hotel Tax Fund

The hotel tax, a consumption-type tax authorized by the state, allows the city to collect up to its current tax rate of 7 percent on hotel and motel rentals. Hotel tax funds can only be spent on specific items that promote tourism.

The budgeted hotel tax revenue is $4.67 million, an increase of 3.98 percent from the FY14 year-end estimate of $4.49 million. Hotel tax revenues are expected to increase due to a stronger tourism economy and the addition of several hotels. A 273.17 percent increase is projected in the ending fund balance due to proceeds from the sale of the Chimney Hill property, an increase in budgeted hotel tax collections, and a decrease in capital expenditures related to the synthetic fields at Veteran’s Park.

  • HOT Revenues: $4.67 million
  • Expenditures – City operations: $1.58 million
    • Parks programs and events: $591,211
    • Sports tournament revenue fund: $200,000
    • Preferred access payment: $530,000
    • Capital purchases: $160,000
    • Public communications staffing: $77,866
    • Miscellaneous programs and events: $19,000
    • Contingency: $50,000
  • Expenditures – Outside agency funding:  $2.15 million
    • Convention & Visitors Bureau: $1.32 million
      • Includes Convention & Visitors Bureau additional costs associated with move.
    • Convention and Visitors Bureau Grant Program: $250,000
    • Arts Council operations and maintenance: $50,000
    • Arts Council affiliates: $386,400
    • Veterans Memorial: $15,000
    • B-CS Chamber of Commerce: $25,000

Court and Police Seizure Funds

The College Station Municipal Court collects a number of special fees authorized by the state legislature. These fees are the court technology fee, court security fee, efficiency time payment fee, juvenile case manager fee and the truancy prevention fee. Other fees collected specifically for child safety are collected in the General Fund and are used to pay for school crossing guards. These fees are paid by those who pay tickets at College Station Municipal Court.

The Police Seizure Fund accounts for items received through the Police Department as a result of criminal investigations. These funds are used for one-time equipment and other purchases to assist in police activities. Police Seizure Fund revenues are estimated to be $20,200 in FY15 with proposed expenditures of $27,000.

Cemetery Fund

The Memorial Cemetery Fund is a special revenue fund that accounts for two thirds of the sales of cemetery lots and other revenues that are accrued through the Memorial Cemetery, which includes the Aggie Field of Honor. For FY15, proposed revenue earnings are $258,778.

  • Memorial Cemetery Fund 
    • Revenues: $258,778 (plot sales and investment income)
    • Expenditures: $262,795 for 1/3 debt service transfer (O&M in General Fund)
  • Memorial Cemetery Endowment Fund 
    • Revenues: $127,072 (plot sales and investment income)
    • Expenditures: $10,000 for advertising expenses (O&M in General Fund)
  • Texas Avenue Cemetery Endowment Fund 
    • Revenues: $15,460  (plot sales and investment income)
    • Expenditures: $0 (O&M in General Fund)

Other Special Revenue Funds

  • Wolf Pen Creek TIF Fund: Accounts for ad valorem tax and other revenues that are accrued to the WPC TIF District. The fund also accounts for expenditures on projects that take place in the WPC District.
    • Expenditures – reimbursement to CSISD: $1.24 million
  • West Medical District TIRZ No. 18: Established in December 2012, the West Medical District TIRZ encompasses the area near the State Highway 6-Rock Prairie Road Bridge and includes The Med and Scott & White Hospital. Development in this portion of the district is expected to meet or exceed $117 million over a 20-year period, which would yield about $8.4 million in tax proceeds. The funds will be used to fund the required improvement projects.
    • Revenue: $194,585 – tax revenue and interest earnings
    • Expenditures: $0
  • East Medical District  TIRZ No. 19: Established in December 2012, the East Medical District TIRZ encompasses the area east of the State Highway 6-Rock Prairie Road Bridge and includes most of the district’s undeveloped properties. Development projects include Rock Prairie Road East, Barron Road, Lakeway Drive, potable water, fire flow water supply, greenway trails, sanitary sewer service, and other public works. New development is expected to meet or exceed $283 million over a 20-year period, which would yield about $30.8 million in tax proceeds. The funds will be used to fund the required improvement projects.
    • Revenue: $1,055 – tax revenue and interest earnings
    • Expenditures: $0
  • Public, Education and Government Access Channel  Fee Fund: PEG funds are collected in an amount equal to one percent of Suddenlink Media’s gross revenues, per a new state franchise agreement that replaced a 10-year-old local franchise agreement. These funds, collected quarterly, may be used for educational and governmental broadcasting on Channel 19. The balance of the PEG fees collected in prior years was $266,573 at the beginning of FY14.
  • R.E. Meyer Estate Restricted Gift Fund: When Robert Earl “Bob” Meyer passed away in October 2013, he generously bequeathed a portion of his estate to the College Station Parks and Recreation Department with the gift restricted for the benefit of senior adult programs. A total of $116,250 from the estate has been received to date.

Insurance Funds

The City of College Station is partially self-insured for property casualty and general liability, workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation. The city became self-funded for employee and dependent health care in 2004. The current program is administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

    • Property & casualty: $983,944
    • Employee benefits: $9.21 million
    • Workers compensation: $660,523
    • Unemployment: $50,000

Equipment Replacement Fund

The Equipment Replacement Fund is an internal service fund that provides equipment and fleet replacements. To better control costs, the fund receives rental charges from departments based on the economic life of their equipment and vehicles. The equipment and vehicle replacements are purchased out of this fund as scheduled or as conditions warrant.

  • Revenues: $5.15 million
    • Fleet
    • Copiers
    • Other
  • Expenditures: $6.18 million
    • Fleet purchases and replacement
    • Other equipment purchases
    • Includes $736,532 for new SLA fleet purchases

Utility Customer Service Fund

The Utility Customer Service Fund is an internal service fund for reading electric and water meters, completing connect and disconnect work requests, and providing customer service activities including billing and collections for electric, water, wastewater, sanitation, and drainage utilities.

  • Revenues: $2.31 million
    • Charges to the electric, water, wastewater, sanitation and drainage utilities
  • Expenditures: $2.33 million
    • Operations and maintenance
    • Pay and benefit proposals
  • SLAs (included in expenditure total above): $89,105
    • 1 Additional meter service field representative ($64,105)
    • ERP process documentation ($25,000)

Fleet Maintenance Fund

The Fleet Maintenance Fund is an Internal Service Fund which receives revenue based on expected costs of departmental transportation and uses those funds to pay for maintaining the city’s fleet of vehicles.

  • Revenues: $2.1 million
    • Charges for service received from other city departments.
  • Expenditures  $1.95 million
    • Operations & maintenance
  • SLAs (included in expenditure total above)
    • Fleet Service Runner/Porter: $38,655
    • Tire Mounting Machines and Balancers: $35,400

What’s Ahead

The council will conduct a public hearing on the tax rate on Sept 3 at city hall, and a public hearing on both the budget and tax rate on Sept. 11. Adoption of the budget is set for Sept. 22.

—Public Communications Office

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