Sherman city leaders and staff will meet this week to discuss future projects and funding going into the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The city council will hold its annual budget workshop this Thursday at 8 a.m. at Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille to start the talks that will lead into the creation of a new budget in September.
For this year’s workshop, city officials expect that funding measures and capital projects will lead the stacked agenda for the meeting. The meeting comes amid calls for property tax reform that could affect the way cities across the state collect taxes in year’s to come.
“We are going to spend a lot of time talking about capital improvement projects — what we have spent and what we plan to spend in the upcoming year,” Sherman Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said Tuesday.
This year’s meeting is expected to be one of the longest in recent years due to the uncertainty surrounding tax rates and is expected to take up all of Thursday. The city has time scheduled Friday, as it does each year, if the meeting goes long, but Strauch said he did not anticipate that this year.
The city’s roads and recent efforts to improve and enhance roadways is expected to be another major topic for the meeting. In recent months, the city has invested in several road expansions near the future site of the new Sherman High School.
Other topics will include an update on the progress of three of the city’s tax increment reinvestment zones, including two near the city’s southern border along FM 1417 and another on its northern border along FM 691.
For this year’s workshop, the city voted earlier this month to move it from its traditional home in the City Council chambers to the recently opened Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille.
“They’ve got a meeting room that is at least as large as this room,” City Manager Robby Hefton said in early June, referring to the council chambers. “I think it is a good representation of the development and partnership we have done with other developers.
“I think it is good for us to maybe go off site and actually have a retreat, so to speak.”
Strauch said the decision to move to Schulman’s came naturally as a way to represent the development ongoing in south Sherman and the expected impact that Schulman’s and the Legacy Village development will have. Further, he said he expects Schulman’s and Legacy Village to be the “geographic center of economic development” in the years to come.
“That business and the businesses that will build around it represent a tremendous economic benefit to the city,” he said, describing it as a symbolic gesture.
The decision to move the venue comes at a minimal cost to the city as the rental fees have been comped, Strauch said. The workshop previously was budgeted for about $950, but this was increased to about $1,200 for this year’s event, he said.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter. He can be reached at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.