Council reviews proposed budget in special workshop

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council had its first workshop about the proposed FY18 city budget on Monday at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility. The 5 1/2-hour session primarily covered the city’s general fund, capital projects and the hotel tax fund.

On Tuesday, the council will focus on special revenue funds, enterprise funds, internal service funds, hotel tax fund, and outside agency funding. A third workshop is scheduled for Wednesday if necessary.

The Fiscal Year 2018 proposed net budget for the City of College Station totals $365.5 million for all funds, which includes $244.5 million for operations and maintenance and $121 million for capital projects.

Proposed FY18 Budget Document

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

General Fund 

The General Fund accounts for city activities typically considered governmental functions, including Police and Fire, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Planning and Development Services. Also included are the primary support services for these areas such as Fiscal Services, Information Technology, and administrative services in General Government.

Proposed FY18 General Fund revenues are $77.2 million, a 1.4 percent increase. The total net taxable certified value of property for 2018 is about $8.9 billion, an increase of 11.4 percent from 2016. The increase in value is due in part to $408.5 million in new construction and development being added to the tax rolls. Existing property values grew by 6.3 percent over 2016.

Tax Rate

The FY18 Proposed Budget includes a tax rate of 49.75 cents per $100 assessed valuation, which includes a 2.5 cent increase on the debt service side to support the construction of a new police station. The proposed operations and maintenance side of the tax rate is unchanged at 27.7161, while the debt service side increases to 22.0339.

Under the new rate, the owner of a $175,000 home would pay about $73 per month. The average tax rate for Texas cities with populations between 75,000-150,000 is about 59 cents. The City of Bryan has a tax rate of almost 63 cents.

The effective tax rate for FY18 — the rate that will raise the same revenues as last year on the same properties —  is 44.4262 cents. The rollback tax rate of 51.7358 cents is the highest that can be adopted before citizens can initiate a petition to lower it back to the rollback rate.

Public Safety

The budget proposes seven new positions in the Police Department – two detectives, a special investigator, two police assistants, and two dispatchers. The budget also covers three new posts in the Fire Department and absorbs six firefighters who had been previously funded by a federal grant.

Capital Projects

Of the $121 million budgeted for capital projects, $87.8 million is earmarked for electric, water and wastewater utilities. Another $16 million is planned for streets and transportation, $3.8 million for parks and recreation, and $3.9 million in facilities and technology.

The remainder of the capital projects budget is for special revenue items such as the synthetic fields at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex — which will be paid for with Hotel Tax Funds — and community development, drainage, parkland and minor sidewalk plans.

Hotel Tax Fund

Projected Hotel Tax Fund revenues are projects at about $5.1 million, with expenses of $4.56 million. Almost $3 million is planned for the convention and visitors bureau (Experience Bryan-College Station), Arts Council, Easterwood Airport, Veterans Memorial and the Chamber of Commerce.

Council Actions

The convention and visitors bureau requested about $2.4 million, but Council opted for $2.25 million — $1.85 million for operations and $400,000 for the grant program.

The council also decided not to pay the city’s legislative lobbyist in FY18 when the legislature is not in session and to not fund a full membership in the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

What’s Ahead?

A public hearing on the proposed tax rate is scheduled for 7 p.m. on August 30 at city hall. A public hearing on the budget and tax rate will be at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11 at city hall. Budget and tax rate adoption is set for Sept. 25.


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also been a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.

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