“For FY 2014, the City will make deliberate and strategic investments into projects and infrastructure which will result in improved mobility, better emergency response, and strong support of our local businesses, said City Manager Shana Yelverton. “These investments are designed to be long-term and will serve the Southlake community for years to come.”
This new budget year will see the opening of DPS North. The facility will serve as a much needed training facility for the fire department and the police department. It will also provide another layer of safety to the residents who live in the northern part of the City by reducing emergency response times as well as offer some possible insurance cost relief for Southlake residents.
FY 2014 will also mark the first year that a school resource officer will be present in every Carroll ISD campus. The officers were added after a Mayor’s task force made up of elected leaders from the City, Carroll ISD as well as citizen leaders made a joint recommendation to the City.
“The addition of the school resource officers is a service enhancement this year,” said Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher. “This program is unique to our area and we are looking forward to working with CISD, as well as the parents and children of Southlake to ensure a positive and safe learning environment.”
For the eleventh straight year, the City Manager is proposing a tax-rate of .462¢ per $100 valuation. The City Manager is also proposing to the Council an ongoing, annual homestead exemption for all homeowners. This will equate to approximately $15,000 of ad valorem tax relief for the average valued home.
“For nearly a decade the City has pursued a steady decrease in the City’s debt as a percentage of assessed value which is now 1.19%,” said Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson. “This coupled with the fact that approximately 70% of Southlake’s debt is self-supporting, and re-payment comes from sources other than property taxes helps support Southlake’s two AAA bond ratings.”
In late FY 2014, residents will likely see construction begin on the Community Recreation Center. In early August, City Council approved funding for Phase 1 design which includes a new senior center space, a community events hall, and an outdoor amphitheater.
The City has also created a new fund for FY 2014 to further support the City’s commitment to Economic Development and business retention.
“The Economic Development Fund will be an important tool in the years to come as the City focuses on some key areas of business development,” said Assistant City Manager and Interim Economic Development Director, Alison Ortowski. “Working with the Council, we want to attract and retain businesses which will complement the City now and in the years to come.”
Other considerations being submitted to the City Council include a two-percent (2%) pay adjustment for employees as well as implementation of a new employee compensation plan which will help establish pay expectations for City employees.
The Council will conducted its first budget work session on August 20th starting at 5:30 p.m. First reading is scheduled to take place on September 3rd with second reading and the public hearing scheduled to take place September 17th.
Please visit www.CityofSouthlake.com/FY2014 for budget updates and to review the proposed budget online.