By Alton Porter
The Crockett City Council adopted an $8.8 million fiscal year 2018 budget Monday, Aug. 14, at a relatively short regular meeting during which four public hearings were held.
Following time set aside for public hearing on the proposed budget – during which no comments were made – a motion to adopt it was offered by Precinct 5 Councilmember Mike Marsh and seconded by Precinct 3 Councilmember Ernest Jackson. All five councilmembers were present and unanimously voted to pass the motion.
In addition to adopting the budget, the successful motion included approval of an ordinance making appropriation for support of the city during the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, and the appropriation of money to the city's sinking fund to pay interest and principal due on the city's indebtedness.
All total, the 21-page budget, drawn up and submitted by City Administrator John Angerstein, projects $8,818,209 in revenue in all funds and $14,767 more than that -- $8,832,976 – in requested expenditures in all funds.
On the revenue side, the largest category, General Administration – which includes planned ad valorem and other tax collections; fines and forfeitures; miscellaneous licenses, permits and fees; and use of money and property – totals $5,059,879.
In the second category, Water and Sewer Departments, revenue is projected at $3,457,162 and in the third, Debt Service, $301,168 in income is expected.
Turning to expenditures, requested General Administration expenses – including those for personnel services; materials and supplies; contract services and maintenance; and capital outlay – total $744,002.
Requested Street Department expenses – covering those same sub-categories – are set at $562,113; Park and Recreation Department expenses at $162,779; and Crockett Police Department expenses at $1,369,552.
The budget sets requested Crockett Fire Department expenses at $426,655, Sanitation Department expenditures at $1,186,173 and Crockett Economic and Industrial Development costs at $140,317.
A total of $154,718 is budgeted for Crockett Public Library, $131,309 for the mechanic shop and $106,394 for Crockett Civic Center and Porth Ag Arena.
Some $75,272 is requested for the city's fire marshal/emergency coordinator, $2,204,087 for the Water Department, $3,471,294 for the Sewer Department and $302,368 for Debt Service.
In another public hearing, time was set aside for comments on the city's proposed 2017 ad valorem (or property) tax rate, during which there also were no comments, except for Mayor Joni Clonts noting the proposed rate is 58.6094 cents per $100 of assessed real property valuation, an increase of 5.2271 cents over the 2016 rate, which was 53.3823 cents for each $100 of assessed value.
During yet another public hearing, Kelle Odom, a senior project manager with the GrantWorks, Inc., grant management firm, presented an overview of the city's planned submission of an application for a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
Grants of up to $75,000 are available through TPWD's Small Community Grant Program to city's such as Crockett to help finance development and/or improvement of new or existing outdoor recreational facilities and counties with populations of less than 20,000. Applications must be submitted no later than Oct. 1. Funds would be awarded in March 2018.
The initiative is a dollar-for-dollar (or 50-percent matching grant) and reimbursement program, meaning a locality awarded a grant must spend the funds to complete a development or improvement project. Then, TPWD will reimburse the entity 50 percent of a project's costs.
Projects eligible for grant funds can include such things as new development or renovation of ball fields; picnic facilities such as pavilions, tables, grills and so forth; gazebos; playground equipment; aquatic facilities; hiking/biking/jogging trails; sport courts; golf courses; camping facilities; water-related activities including boating and fishing; hunting; gardens; beautification; and cultural and exhibit facilities.
During the remaining public hearing, Odom summarized the city's plan to participate in the 2017 Texas Community Development Block Grant Program's Texas Capital Fund-Downtown Revitalization Grant Program.
Under this program, grants of up to $250,000 are awarded to rural Texas cities to make public improvements – including eliminating architectural barriers for the handicapped and upgrading lighting, sidewalks and parking lots – within a designated historic downtown commercial district. Grant award recipients are required to provide a match of at least 10 percent of the award. The application deadline is Oct. 16 and awards will be made in February or March.
Clonts announced that due to their personal business interests in downtown Crockett, she and Angerstein were recusing themselves from discussions about the CDGB downtown revitalization grant program.
In other business, the councilmembers unanimously:
• Voted to pass a motion made by Marsh – seconded by Precinct 1 Councilmember Butch Calvert – approving a resolution of support authorizing submission of an application to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the Texas Home Investment Partnerships Program and authorizing Clonts to act as the city's chief executive officer and authorized representative in all matters pertaining to the city's participation in the program; and
• Passed a Marsh motion – seconded by Jackson – approving a request from the Crockett Police Department and the Crockett Fire Department to close the 1100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (W. Curtis Street to Oak Street) 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, for Back-to-School Fun Day.