Gainesville City Council approved a fiscal year budget during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
The 2013-14 budget, as outlined by City Manager Barry Sullivan during the meeting, is a $32 million budget formulated for a tax rate of $0.646 per $100 of value — a decrease from the current year tax rate of $0.647. As approved, the budget ordinance requires any general fund excess over the budgeted ending balance as of Sept. 30, to be placed in the city’s assigned general capital fund. In the budget approved Tuesday, water and sewer fund rates are increased 3 percent while solid waste rates and storm water rates are unchanged.
The adopted city budget document will soon be posted on the City of Gainesville website (www.Gainesville.tx.us) under the “Financial Transparency” heading.
Other meeting highlights:
• City customer service employee Randy Manus was recognized as “Employee of the Month” for September. Aside from his general work performance, Manus was cited for a recent special circumstance where he assisted a co-worker experiencing health issues after work hours. During that incident, Manus drove his co-worker to the hospital, contacted his family and then stayed with him until family members arrived. Sullivan read in a related proclamation that Manus’s care and concern exemplify the camaraderie shared among many city employees and fosters a friendly and trusting work environment. As employee of the month, Manus will receive one additional day of paid vacation.
• Council adopted and set the ad valorem tax levy for the City of Gainesville at $0.646000 per $100 valuation, with $0.445078 for general fund maintenance and support and $0.200922 for the interest and sinking fund. The tax rate adopted is a decrease from previous years.
• Council approved a five-year capital improvements plan (CIP) for fiscal years 2014 through 2018. The CIP projects future capital expenditures and serves as a planning document for budgeting and planning in future years. The document does not bind Gainesville City Council to any commitment of funds for any project or any budget period. Council also approved the five-year budget model for fiscal years 2014-2018 for the City of Gainesville as presented by Sullivan. The budget model helps council and staff to anticipate the impact of current decisions on future budgets. Sullivan said council review and approval of the long term budget model is also beneficial to bond rating agencies.
• Council approved annual tourism and promotion contracts for each of the agencies to receive anticipated hotel/motel occupancy tax revenues in the fiscal year 2013-14 budget. The agencies are Butterfield Stage Players, Cooke County Arts Council, Cooke County Heritage Society/Morton Museum, Cooke County Heritage Society/Santa Fe Depot and Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce.
• Council approved actions of the Stanford Charitable Corporation Board of Directors in adopting their fiscal year 2013-14 budget in the amount of $86,075 for operation of the Stanford House. (The corporation budget receives public assistance funding in the amount of $10,000 from the city’s adopted budget.)
• Council approved the annual schedule of fees for city services for fiscal year 2013-14, as required by the city code of ordinances. The adopted rates are effective Oct. 1, 2013. Sullivan reported numerous changes throughout the schedule: a water and sewer rate increase of 3 percent to meet budget; a cemetery fee of $250 for Monday funerals if not scheduled by noon the previous Friday to cover overtime pay for city employees preparing the grave site; a Community Services Department after hours inspection fee of $95 per hour (four hour minimum); an outdoor burn permit of $100 per occurrence; and an animal impoundment facility fee of $1 per month, to be billed on residential customers water and sewer accounts to benefit Noah’s Ark. The newly adopted fee schedule will be posted on the city website (www.gainesville.tx.us) under the link to “Fee Schedule.”
• Council approved a 6 percent percent increase in annual compensation for the municipal court judge. Under the city charter, the city council sets the compensation for the municipal judge, which is an elected position. The current salary for this position was approved by council in June 2012.
• Council approved sale of alcohol during Zoobilee on Oct. 5, 2013, in the Frank Buck Zoo. The Frank Buck Zoological Society will sell alcohol during the gated event in the Frank Buck Zoo which is located at 1000 W. California St. in Gainesville. Zoobilee is an annual event in its 14th year to foster attendance, revenues and awareness for the Frank Buck Zoo.
• Council authorized a ground lease agreement (14,463 square feet) with Gainesville Aviation, LLC at Gainesville Municipal Airport. The company is purchasing a private hangar from Tomlinson Avionics, which is located on city property. The resolution approves the ground lease with the city for a primary term of 30 years with two five-year extension options, with lease rate adjustments (per consumer price index) every five years. Gainesville Aviation LLC will use the hangar for aircraft-related operations such as storage, maintenance and flight operations. The airport board and city staff recommended approval of the long-term lease.
• Council approved the decision of the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) to enter into a sales tax rebate agreement with Valew. Under the agreement, the GEDC will provide Valew a sales tax rebate equal to 50 percent of the one-quarter percent local “4B” sales tax directly generated from qualifying sales from Valew and paid to GEDC by the city and subsequently paid to the GEDC. The sales tax rebate agreement is for 10 years based on Valew sales between 2014 and 2024. The agreement is based on Valew constructing and maintaining manufacturing, procurement and sales functions and other potential activities or operations in Gainesville — thereby generating sales tax revenue for the GEDC.
• Council approved a decision of the GEDC board, which approved a reduced payoff amount of $30,000 for a promissory note between the GEDC and RAF Industries (d.b.a. Lazart, or its successors and assigns). The GEDC will conditionally forgive the remaining principal and interest due on the note only if Lazart continues current operations in its existing Gainesville manufacturing facility for a period of 24 months from Oct. 1, and ending Sept. 30, 2015; and endeavors to maintain, subject to business cycles, approximately the same as current employment levels over the 24-month period.
• Council authorized an economic development agreement between the City of Gainesville and Valew to share sales tax revenues as allowed by Chapter 380 of Texas Local Government Code. This economic development incentive allows Valew to receive a rebate of 50 percent of the amount of non-dedicated sales tax revenues (1 percent) generated on all of Valew’s sales in the City of Gainesville.