City budget may come with 3-cent rise in tax

Council workshops budget this week; includes 4 staff cuts, 3-percent raise
By KEN ESTEN COOKE Reporter Publisher

City council members met this week to continue hammering out the 2009-10 proposed budget.

Tota l budget is peg ged at $6,304,066, which is just over $188,000 less than the 2008-09 budget.

But coupled with a capit improvements program of $1,666,092 and an expected decline in sales tax revenue and municipal court fines, the city's property tax rate may rise to 66 cents from the current 63-cent levy.

Declines are expected because of job loss and the loss of temporary workers at Luminant's Sandow 5 power plant.

A preliminary budget proposed by City Manager Kelvin Knauf had staff cuts numbering four and no raises for remaining staff. One vacant police department position and two vacant positions from the parks department will be cut through attrition, and one library staffer will be cut.

But Knauf said Monday's workshop saw the council wanting a cost-of-living raise for staffers.

"On Monday, the council voted to give a three-percent raise to the remaining staff," Knauf said Tuesday.

The council agreed to raise the tax rate to 66.2775 cents per $100 valuation, a fraction of a cent under the rollback rate of $66.2776.

Workshops were originally planned for Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but the council was able to accomplish all budget decisions Tuesday and cancelled the later meeting. The city's regular monthly meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

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