City raises alarm over revenues

Cutback in services possible this year
Reporter EditoR

City Manager Kelvin Knauf had an ominous prediction for the near future at Monday’s city council meeting.

Knauf told council members if sales tax revenues continue to drop significantly, some city services could have to be curtailed, that a budget amendment for this fiscal year is likely, and that next year’s budget “will be brutal.”

Council members, meeting in regular session at City Hall, also heard a complaint over sewer rates and named a new member to the Municipal Development District (MDD) board.

SALES TAX—Knauf said the city’s recent sales tax collections of $254,851 is “down significantly” from the comparable figure of $401,510 last year.

There are lots of implications for the city.

“It’s very likely we will need a budget amendment this year (to reflect the loss in revenue),” he said.

Knauf said some services may be cut back in this fiscal year. “We could have a shorter season for the (city) swimming pool,” he said.

The council had hoped to begin a demolition program for dilapidated buildings but that could be scaled back. “We would do the two (buildings) along US 79, then (have to) come up with a plan,” Knauf said.

It’s not just the sales tax figures. “People are using less water,” Knauf said. “That’s also costing the city.”

SEWER—Doug Smith told the council his sewer bill has increased by $50 per month after a new billing cycle kicked in.

For years Rockdale has figured sewer rates on a percentage of water used during the three winter months.

Smith said he put down a new pallet of grass due to the ongoing drouth and watered it sparsely during those winter months.

“It’s ridiculous,” Smith said. “ You’re penalizing people for trying to have a nice yard. I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think it makes sense.”

Neither water nor sewer rates were on the agenda and the council took no action Monday on Smith’s request.

Knauf suggested an “irrigation meter” could resolve the situation.

APPOINTMENT—Geor- gia Richards was unanimously appointed to the MDD board.

Richards was the top pointscorer in separate evaluations by the council Monday and the MDD Thursday.

Other candidates were Mary Kunkel, Allen Sanders and C. J. Foster.

In other business, the council:

• Heard Ann Sonntag express opposition to an ordinance setting limits on the amount of time garbage cans may be left at the curb. The ordinance has been tabled for more work.

• Heard Margo Gilless request a street light in the 1900 block of Murray near Veterans Memorial Park.

• Accepted a “clean” audit report from Frank Stover of Atchley & Associates.

• Accepted for study from the Planning & Zoning Board, the quality of life and economic development sections of the city’s new master plan.

• Hired the Vickerstaff Law Firm to assist with redistricting council wards.

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