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City council gets 'sticker shock' at 2013-14 budget

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Bandera City Council began the always-arduous process of coming up with an acceptable budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 during a special called meeting Monday, July 22.
According to City Administrator Mike Cardenas, this year council received a copy of the budget as submitted by department heads. "Usually the mayor and I make preliminary cuts, but not this year," Cardenas said. "These are all the actual numbers you need to look at. You're seeing exactly what the department heads have turned in."
The bottom line, he said, was that both the Enterprise Fund and General Fund anticipate income of $2,246,067 while the expenses as submitted for next year's budget total $2,438,772, leaving a deficit of $192,705.
Additionally, interim city financial officer Mae Vion Meyer told council she had received the municipality's certified property tax values. "The numbers have gone up in value since 2012, but the money has decreased because of exemptions and property that is not being fully utilized." As one example, she cited the vacant city block on Main Street, the site of a former hotel and restaurant complex.
According to Chief Appraiser Wendy Grams of the Central Appraisal District, the total certified roll in the city amounts to $80,475,450 up from $78,465,745 last year. She noted that the decrease in tax values in the city was approximately $1,800 to $2,000.
"Most of that was due to the freezing of property taxes for residents over the age of 65," Grams said. She added that $2.9 million was under protest.
To continue scrutinizing the budget numbers, special city council meetings were called for Tuesday, July 30, and Thursday, August 1, to speak with department heads. The budgets of the city marshal, municipal court and animal control will be discussed on July 30 and the water treatment facility, water and street departments and city park on August 1. Meetings will begin at 6 pm.
The budgets of the administrations of the general and enterprise funds will be taken up at a later date.
"We've given you the numbers and now you have time to digest them," Mayor Don Clark told council as he adjourned the 20-minute special meeting.