By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
Considering that the fiscal year is nearing its end, the City Council met last week for a presentation from Finance Director Rodrigo Gimenez regarding the budget for the upcoming year.
Gimenez started by covering the General Fund, which is expected to have approximately $11 million in revenue. The primary source of revenue for the fund comes from property taxes providing 54 percent of revenue followed by sales tax at 21 percent.
Expenditures from the general fund are expected to be about $10.6 million leaving $372,000 for the council to use at their discretion. At 7.5 million, payroll is the major expenditure in the general fund consuming 70 percent of the fund, which is average when compared to other cities including Corpus Christi at 72 percent, Port Aransas at 69 percent and Brownsville at 74 percent.
By eliminating already vacant positions and redistributing duties, staff created $23,000 in savings from payroll. City Manager Bill DiLibero emphasized that the City is not vacating positions, rather, eliminating already vacant positions. Some salaries were increased for those taking on additional duties. The remaining $4.5 million will be used for public safety while $3 million will be allocated amongst the remaining departments relating to parks, transportation, beach maintenance and more.
Other major costs for the next fiscal year are the debt service payments toward the fire station, municipal complex, and Gulf Boulevard improvements. The Council recently decided to take out a tax anticipation note in amount $3 million to complete Gulf Boulevard rather than dragging out improvements over the next few years. In addition, the City will have to catch up on five years of payments to the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) fund for a total amount of $145,000 after which annual payments will be approximately $40,000. Cameron County will also contribute annually to the TIRZ with the money being designated for reinvestment in the designated zone.
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