Council wraps up final day of budget workshops

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council had its final workshop about the proposed FY18 city budget on Tuesday at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility. The 3-hour session covered special revenue funds, enterprise funds, internal service funds, hotel tax fund, and outside agency funding.

Monday’s initial workshop covered the city’s general fund, capital projects, and the hotel tax fund.

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:

Special Revenue Funds 

  • Community Development: The Community Development Fund is used to account for grants received from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by the city for use in revitalizing low- and moderate-income areas and addressing the needs of low and moderate income citizens. Grant amounts in FY18 include $1.9 million in Community Development Block Grant funds and $732,619 in HOME Investment Partnership Grant funds.
  • Roadway Maintenance: Starting Jan. 1 of this year, the Roadway Maintenance Fee is paid monthly by residents and businesses to help fix potholes and properly maintain streets. Preventive maintenance also reduces the need for costly road reconstruction. FY18 revenues and expenditures are projected to be $4.2 million.
  • Water Impact Fee: Starting Dec. 1 of last year, the Water Impact Fee is assessed for permits issued for new water connections to fund existing and future capital improvement projects that serve new developments. FY18 revenues are expected to be $377,417. A transfer of $359,152 to the Water Fund is also proposed for the debt service payment for Well No. 9 and Well No. 9 Collection Line capital improvement projects.
  • Wastewater Impact Fee: Effective Dec. 1 of last year, the Wastewater Impact Fee is assessed for permits issued for new sewer connections. FY18 revenues are projected to be $2.3 million. A transfer of $330,075 to the Wastewater Fund is proposed for debt service payment for the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion.
  • Roadway Impact Fee: The Roadway Impact Fee funds existing and future capital improvement projects that serve new developments. Four separate funds were created for the four service territories where the fee is collected. Fees collected in a service area must be used for capital projects there. FY18 revenues are expected to be $417,667, which will fund future capital projects.
  • Municipal Court: The College Station Municipal Court collects a 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 to pay for school crossing guards. Those fees are funded by citations.
  • Cemetery: The Memorial Cemetery Fund accounts for two-thirds of the sales of cemetery lots and other revenues. FY18 proposed revenues are $277,352 from the sale of lots and investment earnings.

Enterprise Funds

  • Electric: No electric rate increase is proposed. FY18 revenue is estimated to be $104.1 million with a $75 million operating budget. Planned electric capital projects are expected to be about $19.5 million.
  • Water: FY18 revenue is estimated to be $17.1 million with an $8.4 million operating budget, which includes a proposed 6 percent residential and commercial rate increase — to take effect in the fourth quarter — to support the Water Capital Improvement Program and ongoing operations costs. Planned water capital projects are expected to be about $9.8 million.
  • Wastewater: No rate increase is proposed for the Wastewater Fund. The FY18 operating budget is $6.9 million with revenues estimated at $17.6 million. The revenue is designated to offset debt service payments related to the expansion of the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Planned wastewater capital projects are expected to be about $58.5 million.
  • Sanitation: The Sanitation Fund accounts for collecting and disposing of residential and commercial refuse. Varied rate increases are proposed to start in the fourth quarter. FY18 revenues are estimated to be $10.1 million with an operating budget of $7.8 million. An additional truck and driver will be added this year.
  • Northgate Parking: The Northgate Parking Fund accounts for revenues and expenditures from Northgate parking facilities. FY18 revenue is estimated to be $1.6 million with an operating budget of $1.3 million.

 Property Tax Rate

The 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.

Outside Agency Funding

The city funds some outside agencies that provide services for the residents of College Station. Agencies are funded by the General Fund, Community Development Fund, Hotel Tax Fund, and Sanitation Fund.

  • General Fund: Outside agency funding from the General Fund totals $1.36 million. Funded organizations are the Research Valley Partnership ($350,000), Arts Council ($35,000 for operations), Noon Lions Club ($15,000 for 4th of July celebration), Aggieland Humane Society ($263,047), Brazos County Health District ($359,150), and the Brazos Central Appraisal District ($341,427).
  • Sanitation Fund: Keep Brazos Beautiful receives $49,190 from the Sanitation Fund.
  • Community Development Fund: Outside agency funding from the Community Development Fund totals $149,131. Funded agencies are Big Brothers Big Sisters ($29,216), Brazos Maternal & Child Health Clinic ($23,532), Family Promise ($8,032), Mental Health Mental Retardation Authority ($24,018), Project Unity ($31,862), Voices for Children ($32,471).

 Insurance Funds

The City of College Station is partially self-insured for property & casualty and general liability, workers’ compensation, and unemployment compensation. The health care program will transition from Blue Cross/Blue Shield to Cigna in January.

  • Property & Casualty: Total proposed revenues for the Property & Casualty Insurance Fund are about $1.1 million with $1.2 million in expenses.
  • Employee Benefits: Proposed income in the Employee Benefits Fund are $13.2 million, which includes a 5 percent increase in city-paid employee health insurance premiums, a 5 percent increase in the employee-paid high-deductible plan premium, and a 10 percent increase in the employee-paid PPO plan premium. Other proposed expenditures include $465,689 for the Employee Health Clinic and almost $1.1 million for the Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) Trust.
  • Workers’ Compensation: FY18 proposed revenues are $613,123, and proposed expenditures are $683,162.
  • Unemployment Insurance: FY18 proposed revenues (investment earnings only) are $2,000 with claims costs of $60,000. Revenues typically are collected as a percentage of each employee’s salary, but in FY17 the decision was made to forego collection due to increased working capital in recent years. That decision has been extended to FY18.

Other Internal Services Funds

  • Equipment Replacement: In FY18, $631,950 is proposed for new fleet purchases for police, fire, public works, parks & recreation, and electric.
  • Fleet Maintenance: FY18 estimated revenues and expenditures are projected to be $2.3 million.
  • Utility Customer Service: Revenues of $3.12 million are proposed for FY18, with expenses of $3.05 million.

Hotel Tax Fund

The Hotel Tax allows the city to collect up to its current tax rate of 7 percent on rental income of hotels and motels. Projected Hotel Tax Fund revenues are about $5.1 million, with expenses of $4.56 million. The FY18 budget for Outside Agencies is about $2.86 million, which includes $1.6 million for the Experience Bryan College (formerly the Convention & Visitors Bureau) for operational, sales/marketing, promotional, servicing and business development elements; $400,000 for the CVB Grant Program; $114,376 for Easterwood Airport Advertising; $290,000 for Arts Council operations and maintenance; $390,868 to Arts Council for affiliate funding; $25,000 to Veterans Memorial; and $25,000 for the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce.

Another $4.56 million in hotel tax funds will cover the new synthetic fields at Veterans Park, sports tournament promotions, qualifying parks programs and events, public communications support, and the preferred access agreement payment.

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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