Council reviews general fund, capital projects budget

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council had its first workshop about the proposed FY19 city budget on Monday at the CSU Meeting and Training Facility. The three-hour session primarily covered the city’s general fund and capital projects.

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 could happen Wednesday if needed.

The Fiscal Year 2019 proposed net budget for the City of College Station totals $360.7 million for all funds, which includes $252.3 million for operations and maintenance and $108.4 million for capital projects.

Proposed FY19 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 FY19 General Fund revenues are $81.4 million, a 3.8 percent increase. The total net taxable certified value of property is about $9.5 billion, an increase of 6.6 percent from 2018. The increase in value is due in part to $403.2 million in new construction and development being added to the tax rolls. Existing property values grew by just over two percent.

Tax Rate

The FY19 Proposed Budget includes a tax rate of 50.5841 cents per $100 assessed valuation, which includes a 0.8341-cent increase on the General Fund side to offset a five percent homestead exemption approved by the city council earlier this year. The proposed operations and maintenance side of the tax rate is unchanged at 28.5502, while the debt service side stays at 22.0339.

Under the new rate, the owner of a $200,000 home would pay about $84 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 FY19 — the rate that will raise the same revenues as last year on the same properties —  is 47.8968 cents. The rollback tax rate of 52.2313 cents is the highest that can be adopted before citizens can initiate a petition to lower it back to the rollback rate.

The core services of police, fire, emergency medical services, public works, and parks and recreation account for about 65 percent of the city’s expenses. About 41 percent of new spending requests for FY19 were made by the public safety departments.

Capital Projects

Capital projects account for almost a third of the proposed budget. Included is $34.8 million for electric, water and wastewater utilities, $35 million for streets and transportation, $12.3 million for parks and recreation, and $30.2 million for facilities.

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

Debt Service 

Standard & Poor’s gives the City of College Station an AA+ rating for both general obligation bonds and certificates of obligation. Moody’s upgraded the city’s rating to Aa1 in 2018. The city’s debt service for FY19 is about $20.5 million.

What’s Ahead?

A public hearing on the proposed tax rate is scheduled for Sept. 5 at city hall. A public hearing on the budget and tax rate will be Sept. 13 at city hall. Budget and tax rate adoption is set for Sept. 27.

 


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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