The city of Denison ended its budget season Monday when it approved a $25.31 million budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. In a separate action, the council also adopted a property tax rate of 63.3377 cents for each $100 of assessed value — a one cent decrease over the previous year.
The roll call votes to adopt the budget and tax rates were unanimous with council member Bill Malvern absent for the meeting.
During Monday’s meeting, City Manager Jud Rex gave a brief update on the budget, noting that very little has changed over previous iterations.
Under the current budget, the city is slated to spend $100,000 of surplus funds from 2017 for a new restroom facility in Forest Park. Following the construction of new playground equipment and a splash pad this year, Rex said there is a need for restrooms closer to the new amenities.
During previous city council meetings, Rex said the city would focus on public safety, city roads and new personnel as a part of the coming year’s budget.
The budget calls for two new positions within the Denison Police Department. The two positions would be in the department’s narcotics division and the community services division. Currently, Lt. Mike Eppler, who also serves as the department’s public information officer, makes up the community services division.
Rex previously estimated the new positions would cost the city $114,000 in salary and benefits.
Denison Fire Rescue will also receive a new administrative position in the upcoming budget. Rex said this is a position that the department previously lacked.
The other major new expense will be in the city’s road maintenance program. Under the new budget, the city will contribute $670,000 annually toward roadway improvements and maintenance. Of these funds, $465,000 will come from the city’s general fund, with $205,000 coming from the utility fund. The city will set aside 10 percent of these funds specifically for sidewalk and pedestrian-use improvements.
The city also plans to purchase 35 new body cameras for the patrol division next year. This would provide enough units for the entire division with a few additional units as back-up. The city anticipates that this will cost the city 42,000 annually.
The one-cent tax cut comes as the city anticipates a 6 percent increase in its property tax revenues next year following recent increases in property values. While the tax cut will cost the city about $135,000, the city is still anticipating $460,000 in additional revenue from property taxes next year.