Plano City Council Meeting on Budget

Carole Evans
7/30/2018

PLANO HELD REVIEW OF RECOMMENDED 2018-19 BUDGET ON JULY 25, 2018

During the Plano City Council meeting held on July 25, 2018, Karen Rhodes-Whitley, Budget Director for The City of Plano, reviewed the recommended Plano budget for 2018-2019. Her presentation included an overview of the Budget and Community Investment Program (CIP) for 2017-18, the recommended CIP for 2018-19, and 2018-19 recommended budget, tax rate, and capital maintenance fund. The consumer tax rate is currently 46.86 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation, both for residential and commercial properties. Ms. Rhodes-Whitley and her team are recommending that the tax rate, which is one of the lowest in the area, remain the same for 2018-19. Total recommended budget is $587 million, an increase of $32.2 million or 5.8%, over the 2017-18 re-estimated budget.

DETAILS OF THE 2018-19 RECOMMENDED BUDGET

No new programs are included in the budget. The budget includes enhancements to services required as a result of growth in the city. Highlights of the total operating budget include:

  • Increase in North Texas Municipal Water District – $11 million
  • Increase in capital maintenance fund – $7 million, which “is needed to offset escalating project construction costs and to continue the rehabilitation and maintenance of the city’s aging infrastructure and facilities”
  • Public safety programs – $6.5 million
  • Salary increases of 3% – $6 million
  • Wayfinding signage project – $1.5 million
  • CIP coming online – $1.3 million
  • Library books – $1.1 million
  • Election cost – $300 thousand
  • Parks and recreation enhancements – $238 thousand
  • Electricity and OPEB account savings – (3.6 million)

Notes:

  • 65% of the recommended budget is for salaries.
  • 20% homestead tax exemption and tax freezes for citizens that are disabled or over age 65 will remain in place.

The entire recommended 907-page budget may be found by selecting 7/25 Packet for City Council at: https://www.plano.gov/1227/City-Council-Agendas.

CITY COUNCIL COMMENTS

Councilman Rick Smith asked if the tax rate could be reduced down to the effective rate, which would represent a tax savings to citizens (of $7 per month per Councilman Rick Grady) and a $12 million reduction in the recommended 2018-19 budget. Councilman Anthony Ricciardelli said he feels obligated to ask the Budget Department to consider a budget cut as an option. Tom Harrison requested that the Council be provided with the actual vs. plan numbers for the past 3-5 years to determine if the recommended budget has been close to actual expenditures and revenues. Ms. Rhodes-Whitley agreed. Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Angela Miner indicated that she is not comfortable cutting the budget. Several years ago, the budget was cut; as a result, programs and people were also cut.

City Manager Bruce Glasscock asked the Council to determine what their ultimate budget goal is. He said a $12 million reduction would result in reduced services, reduced capital maintenance, and reduction in police, fire, and parks and recreation staff. Public safety would be reduced.

Public hearings of the recommended budget are scheduled for August 27 and September 5.

OTHER TOPICS

Lori Schwarz presented a recommendation to implement a hotel/motel inspection program, similar to the current multi-family inspection program. Fees obtained would make the program self-funding.

To view the full minutes of the Plano City Council Meeting of July 25, click here. https://www.plano.gov/1227/City-Council-Agendas

To view a recording of the meeting in its entirety, click here. http://tx-plano.civicplus.com/210/Plano-TV