Notes from Budget Workshop No. 3 (Wednesday)

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By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council had the last of three workshops regarding the proposed FY16 city budget Wednesday afternoon at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility.

Monday’s meeting covered general budget issues, the general fund, capital projects, and debt service. Tuesday’s session focused on outside agency funding.

Wednesday’s workshop covered governmental and special funds and an increase in the utility fund transfer to cover additional pay increases for police and certain other city employees. The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m. and was adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

Here’s the Powerpoint received by the council:

Police, Staff Compensation

The council voted 6-1 to increase the cap on the Electric Fund transfer to the General Fund from 6 to 6.9 percent in FY16 to cover additional pay adjustments for the Police Department and certain city employees. Councilman Steve Aldrich voted against the motion. A specific plan will be brought back to the council before the budget is finalized on Sept. 21.

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 $5.5 million, an increase of 4 percent from the FY15 year-end estimate of $5.3 million. Hotel tax revenues are expected to rise due to a stronger tourism economy and the addition of several hotels. In FY15, $9.3 million from the sale of the Chimney Hill property was transferred back to the Hotel Tax Fund. Most of those funds will be used for capital projects at Veterans Park and the future Southeast Park.

Projected HOT Revenues: $5.5 million

    • Expenditures – City Operations: $5.3 million
      • Parks programs and events: $557,659   
      • Sports tournament revenue fund: $300,000
      • Preferred access payment: $510,000
      • Veterans Park Synthetic Fields Phase II: $3.67 million
      • Public Communications staffing & marketing: $184,116
      • Miscellaneous programs and events: $25,000
    • Base Outside Agency Requests: $2.81 million

Outside agencies receiving hotel tax funds were discussed at Tuesday’s workshop.

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 $15,200 in FY16 with proposed expenditures of $20,000.

Cemetery Fund

The Memorial Cemetery Fund is a special fund that accounts for two-thirds of the sales of cemetery lots and other revenues through the Memorial Cemetery, which includes the Aggie Field of Honor. For FY16, proposed revenue earnings are $258,778.

    • Memorial Cemetery Fund
      • Revenues:$248,478  (plot sales and investment income)
      • Expenditures: $363,101 for 1/2 debt service transfer (O&M in General Fund)
    • Memorial Cemetery Endowment Fund
      • Revenues: $124,922 (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 Tax Increment Finance District. The fund also accounts for expenditures on projects that take place in the WPC District.
    • Fund Balance – $1.24 million
    • Expenditures – $0
  • West Medical District TIRZ No. 18: Established in December 2012, the West Medical District Tax Increment Refinance Zone 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 support the required improvement projects.
    • Revenue: $184,062 – 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: $872 – 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.
    • Revenue – $207,056 – cable franchise fees and interest earnings
    • Expenditures: $129,820
  • 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.

Electric Fund

The electric utility provides for the construction of new facilities needed to extend electrical service to new consumers, performs repairs and maintenance to the electric system, and installs and maintains street and traffic lights. Electric utility personnel maintain over 20 miles of electric transmission lines, seven electrical substations, and more than 450 miles of overhead and underground electric distribution lines.

No rate increase is included in the FY16 Electric Fund. Revenues of $100 million are projected with expenditures of $96.9 million.

  • Operating Expenditures and Transfers: $72.69 million
    • Operations and Maintenance: $10.8 million (includes pay plan proposal)
    • Purchased Power & Wheeling Costs: $60.24 million
    • Net General/Administrative Transfers: $1.63 million (includes proposed service level adjustments)
    • Debt Service: $6.13 million
    • Transfer to General Fund: $5.81 million
    • Contingency: $150,000
    • Capital Projects Funding: $12.15 million
  • Electric Capital Appropriations: $12.27 million
    • General plant  
    • Overhead system improvements  
    • Underground system improvements  
    • New services & system extensions  
    • Residential street lighting  
    • Thoroughfare street lighting      
    • Distribution  
    • Transmission

Water Fund

As a city enterprise, the full cost of service for water production, transmission and distribution is recovered by charging customers for consumption on a per unit basis. No water rate increase is included in the FY16 budget.

  • Revenue: $14.9 million
    • User fees from water customers.
    • Forecast shows future rate increase.
    • Water tap fee adjustment (year 2 of 3).
  • Expenditures: $13.91 million
    • Operating expenditures and transfers: $7.23 million
    • Includes pay plan proposal.
    • Includes proposed service level adjustments
    • Debt Service: $5.13 million
    • Transfer to General Fund: $1.5 million
    • Contingency: $50,000
  • Water Capital Expenditures: $13.76 million
    • Key Water System Production Projects
      • Well No. 9
      • Well No. 9 collection line
      • Park Place elevated storage tank re-coating
      • Rehab of water well pumps and motors
      • Longmire/FM2818 valve replacement
      • Variable frequency drive replacement
    • Key Water System Distribution Projects
      • Oversized participation
      • Sweetwater Forest water line extension
      • State Highway 6 water line extension projects
      • Lakeway water line extension
    • Key Water System Rehabilitation Projects
      • Eastgate utility rehabilitation
      • Munson utility rehabilitation
      • Luther utility rehabilitation
      • Francis utility rehabilitation

Wastewater Fund

Wastewater services are provided as an enterprise function with service-related fees paying for the cost of service. No wastewater rate increase is included in the FY16 budget.

  • Revenue: $14.84 million
    • User fees from water customers.
    • Forecast shows future rate increase.
  • Expenditures: $14.37 million
    • Operating expenditures and transfers: $7.13 million (includes pay plan proposal)
    • Includes proposed service level adjustments
    • Debt Service: $4.63 million
    • Capital Projects Funding: $1.2 million
    • Transfer to General Fund: $1.36 million
    • Contingency: $50,000
  • Wastewater Capital Expenditures: $7.85 million
    • Key Wastewater System Collection Projects
      • Oversize participation
      • Lick Creek Parallel Trunk Line Phase I (design)
      • Bee Creek Parallel Trunkline
    • Key Wastewater System Rehabilitation Projects
      • Eastgate utility rehabilitation
      • Munson utility rehabilitation
      • Francis utility rehabilitation
    • Key Wastewater System Treatment and Plant Projects
      • Carters Creek centrifuge improvements
      • Carters Creek structures coating replacement
      • Lick Creek generator replacement
      • Variable frequency drive replacement
      • SCADA – New lift stations
      • Carters Creek electrical improvements.
      • Carters Creek and Lick Creek treatment plant buffers

Sanitation Fund

The Sanitation Division of Public Works serves the city’s solid waste collection needs, including curbside recycling, brush and grass clipping collection, street sweeping, removal of waste and the provision of residential containers. Commercial services are also provided to local businesses and includes collection in small and large containers.

No sanitation rate increase is included in the FY16 budget.

  • Revenues: $9.13 million
    • Includes $406,560 from BVSWMA to offset debt service payment.
    • Forecast shows future rate increase.
  • Expenditures: $8.84 million
    • Operating expenditures and transfers: $7.93 million
    • Includes proposed service level adjustments
    • Includes Keep Brazos Beautiful funding: $52,740
    • Includes pay plan proposal
    • Transfer to General Fund: $722,034
    • Transfer in for street sweeping: ($219,575)
    • Debt service (offset with revenue from BVSWMA): $406,560
    • Outside agency contingency: $3,950

Drainage Fund

Like all the city’s enterprise funds, the goal of the drainage fund is to provide a quality service at a reasonable cost.

  • Revenues: $2.19 million
    • Drainage utility fees
    • Southwest Parkway storm drain replacement
    • Wolf Pen Creek erosion control Phase II
    • Minor drainage improvements
    • Greenways projects
  • Expenditures: $3.42 million
    • Operations and maintenance: $1.63 million
    • Includes drainage maintenance operations
    • Includes proposed service level adjustments
    • Includes pay plan proposal
  • Capital Project Expenditures: $844,391
    • Greenways projects
    • Minor drainage improvements
    • Wolf Pen Creek erosion control Phase II
    • Southwest Parkway storm drain replacement

Northgate Parking Fund

The Northgate Parking Fund accounts for parking operations in the Northgate District, including the surface parking lot on Patricia Street, the College Main Parking Garage and on-street parking.

  • Revenues: $1.42 million
    • No change in parking rates.
    • Assume parking fines remain relatively flat.
  • Expenditures: $1.47 million
    • Parking operations and maintenance: $518,030
    • Non-parking activities: $198,199 (reimbursed from General Fund)
    • Includes pay plan proposal
    • Debt service: $463,925
    • Northgate Parking Garage projects: $365,365

Internal Service 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 January 2004. The current program is administered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. These insurance funds are accounted for as Internal Service Funds.

  • Property & Casualty Fund: $1.1 million
    • Includes safety/security position
    • Includes security upgrades
  • Workers Compensation Fund: $675,670
    • Includes safety/security position
  • Employee Benefits: $11.6 million
    • Includes 5 percent increase in employee premiums
    • Includes $500,000 for proposed health clinic
    • Includes $300,000 for OPEB Trust
  • Unemployment Compensation Fund: $50,000

Equipment Replacement Fund

The Equipment Replacement Fund is an internal service fund that provides equipment and fleet replacements.

  • Revenues: $8.1 million
    • Fleet
    • Copiers
    • Includes $1.3 million transfer from General Fund for purchase of Fire Department breathing apparatus in FY17
  • Expenditures: $6 million
    • Fleet purchases and replacement
    • Other equipment purchases
    • Includes $2.1 million for new SLA fleet purchases, including $1.4M for ladder truck

Utility Customer Service

The Utility Customer Service Fund is an Internal Service Fund that accounts for expenses associated with reading electric and water meters, completing connect and disconnect requests, and providing customer service activities including billing and collections for electric, water, wastewater, sanitation, and drainage utilities.

  • Revenues: $2.33 million
    • Charges to the Electric, Water, Wastewater, Sanitation and Drainage Utilities
  • Expenditures: $2.36 million
    • Operations and maintenance
    • Pay and benefit proposals
    • SLAs (included in expenditure total above): $63,627
    • Additional Senior Customer Service Rep: ($38,627)
    • ERP Process Documentation: ($25,000)

Fleet Maintenance Fund

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

  • Revenues: $2.13 million
    • Charges for service received from other city departments
  • Expenditures: $2.07 million
    • Operations & maintenance
    • Service level adjustments (included in expenditure total above)
    • Tire mounting machines and balancers
    • Overtime increase

What’s Ahead

The council will conduct a public hearing on the proposed tax rate of 45.25 cents per $100 of valuation on Sept 2 at city hall, and a public hearing on both the budget and tax rate on Sept. 10. Budget adoption is scheduled for Sept. 21.

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