By Patty Montagno
Nearing the end of the budget season, the city of Sachse expects to operate under a balanced budget and lowered tax rate for fiscal year 2015-’16.
City Manager Gina Nash and Finance Director Teresa Savage presented the budget last week to the City Council. It has been filed with the city secretary for public viewing.
“It is my pleasure to submit the fiscal year 2015-’16 budget to the Sachse City Council,” Nash said. “This budget represents many dedicated hours of investment by the city council and city staff. The budget is balanced, includes a decrease in the tax rate, continues to provide services that Sachse’s citizens expect, and invests strategically in several areas to support the continued growth of the community.”
The total proposed operating budget is $14,567,479. The 2014 -’15 total operating budget was $12,693,243.
The finance director noted that development in Sachse across most sectors is very strong with a
20 percent increase in single housing permits during the first nine months with just over 200 permits being issued.
“Construction continued throughout the year on the Mansions at Woodbridge apartment complex. On the commercial side, several projects are either complete or under construction,” Savage said. Commercial projects include a Walmart Neighborhood Market at the Blackburn Road/Murphy Road intersection, Laguna Madre Traders on Highway 78, two Murphy Oil fuel stations, an LA Fitness training facility and a convenient care clinic at the intersection of Highway 78 and Woodbridge Parkway.
Nash pointed out that along with development, the economy in the region has been strong this year and shows no signs of a significant slow down in the near future.
Both Dallas and Collin Counties experienced an increase in appraised values throughout the city, and a total of $104.4 million in new construction taxable value was added to the tax rolls.
The 3-year financial forecast indicates that the local economy will continue to improve over the short term.
“This outlook provides the council with the ability to proactively meet the demands of a growing city within the context of being economically sustainable and sound,” Nash said.
Several guiding principles governed the development of the city’s budget.
The city manager believes that the first and most important guiding principle in the budget is to invest in the city employees through their compensation. “ During the economic downturn, investments in city staff compensation and training decreased significantly she said.
The proposed budget includes funding of a market comparative compensation study and funding for full implementation of the recommendations.
Nash said the second guiding principle for the budget is that the largest single non-infrastructure investment proposed is the P25 analog to digital radio system conversion.
“The proposed funding for that project was through the city council’s fiscally responsible foresight by setting funds aside over the last two fiscal years as well as the allocation of $200,000 in operating funds in FY 2016,” she said. The estimated total budget for the project is almost $950,000.
The third main guiding principle in the budget includes continued investment in capital expenses. This includes funding for six new vehicles, needed equipment and a $100,000 allocation toward the creation of an Equipment Replacement Fund.
In 2014, council adopted a five-year rate schedule for the Utility Fund. The rates were structured to rebuild Utility Fund reserves, support maintenance of ageing infrastructure, fund future system expansion, and cover increased raw costs for water and wastewater treatment.
“Utility Fund revenues 2016 are based on the second year in the rate schedule; expenses include a five percent increase in rates for sewer treatment and eleven percent increase in the wholesale cost of water from North Texas Municipal Water District,” Nash said.
2015 significant city projects
Refunding the remaining 2003 Certificates of Obligation and a portion of the 2009 bonds
Firefighter’s Park opened in October 2014.
Completition of Merritt Road widening from Pleasant Valley to the south city limits
Woodbridge Parkway extension into Wylie completed
Funding approved for the final design of Phase1of Sachse Road widening, from Hwy. 78 to Miles Road.
Final construction phase widening Ranch Road to four lanes between Hwy. 78 and DeWitt.