By Alton Porter
As expected, the Crockett City Council voted to approve and ordinance setting the city's fiscal year 2018 property tax rate at 58.6094 cents per $100 of assessed property valuation at a special council meeting Monday, Aug. 28.
The new rate is a 5.2271 cents per $100 of assessed value increase of the 2017 rate of 53.3823 cents for each $100 of assessed value.
Making the motion to approve the ordinance was Mike Marsh, Precinct 5 councilmember and mayor pro tem. The motion was seconded by Precinct 3 Councilmember Ernest Jackson, and it passed on a unanimous vote of all five councilmembers.
The ad valorem tax levy is for use and support of the municipal government of the City of Crockett and is apportioned into two parts: 46.0097 cents for the General Fund used for maintenance and support of the general government (maintenance and operation) and 12.5997 cents for the city's Interest and Sinking Fund used to pay down the city's bond indebtedness.
The ordinance states taxes levied under it shall be due at the outset of fiscal year 2018 which begins Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, and will immediately become delinquent if not paid before Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018.
On a related matter, the councilmembers unanimously voted passage of a motion offered by Marsh and seconded by Precinct 1 Councilmember Butch Calvert, approving a resolution that accepts the city's 2017 tax roll as certified to them by Chief Appraiser Carey Minter's Houston County Appraisal District office.
The city's certified real estate appraisal roll is a breakdown of all properties in the city and their assessed values.
In other business, City Administrator John Angerstein updated the councilmembers on the city's application for a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office.
Angerstein said he received notification the previous week that the application has been approved for a loan of $3.327 million for improvements to the city's water storage facilities and replacement of water meters. He said $200,000 is going to be provided by the Houston County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1.
City officials also had applied for grant funds along with the loan application. However, the city did not qualify for a grant award because the water rates paid by the municipality's water customers are lower than those paid in average water districts, he said.
The interest rate on the loan is 2 percent.
The loan will enable city officials to have both elevated water tanks completely rehabilitated, inside and out – recoating them, painting them and so forth, Angerstein said, adding, the city's two 350,000-gallon ground storage facilities will be removed and replaced with a one-million-gallon storage tank.
The third portion of the loan is for replacement of all of the city's current water meters with Smart Meters, he added.
"That's really good news for us to move forward on some of our key items that could cost us a lot of money if they went down," Angerstein said.
He noted, the city's new budget "does have the funding for repayment" of the loan.
The councilmembers voted 4-1 to pass a motion made by Jackson and seconded by Precinct 2 Councilmember Darrell Jones to table appointment of a director to fill a vacancy on the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC) Board of Directors that opened up as a result of the recent resignation of CEIDC Vice President Gene Glover.
Marsh voted against the motion to table making the appointment.
Mayor Joni Clonts had nominated Michael Brenner to fill the position. However, Jackson asked Clonts and the other councilmembers to grant him time to seek out and suggest the name of a person of color to fill the position in order to maintain ethnic diversity on the board.
In other action, the councilmembers:
• Voted 4-1 to pass a motion made by Jackson – seconded by Calvert – selecting a $35,518 bid submitted by Parsons Roofing, headquartered in Waco, to do roof repair work – including replacement of all shingles, rotten decking and tar paper – and other repairs to the Crockett Public Library, with Marsh voting against the motion; and
• Unanimously voted to pass a Calvert motion – seconded by Jackson – approving a resolution designating KSA Engineers as the city's engineering services provider for the 2017 Texas Capital Fund Downtown Revitalization/Main Street Program application and project-related engineering services.