The city of Denison is looking at a projected budget of $28,801,050 for fiscal year 2020, a $1,336,872 increase over the previous year. City staff and department heads presented the city’s plans for the next year at its annual budget workshop on Friday.
The breakdown of the budget included $9,916,341 from property taxes, $8,338,668 from sales tax, and 13,122,296 from utility rates.
Out of the funds generated from sales tax, $6,254,000 goes to the city’s budget and the rest goes to the Denison Development Alliance to invest in business development.
The proposed budget included is broken down into 44 percent for public safety with the rest going to everything else. Public safety includes fire police, communications (dispatch), municipal court and animal services.
“This is always one of my favorite days of the year when we get to hear from the staff. We get to hear all of your visions,” Mayor Janet Gott told the staff at the start of the meeting.
Denison City Manager Jud Rex talked about the city’s vision plan and how the programs in the budget will help the city realize those goals.
“We are really excited to engage you in the beginning of our budget process,” Rex said. “I have talked about the bicycle that is our community, staff are on the pedals and the council is steering the bike where it wants to go.”
Rex reminded the staff and council all numbers were preliminary and subject to change. The city’s 30-year plan to become a community of choice is currently four years in, Rex said.
Rex said while employee pay is important to the city, the topic was not discussed at the meeting. He spent time talking about the quality of life plans for the city. Code enforcement is one of the primary components of that plan.
The city is nearing completion of the water and sewer master plan which is roughly 95 percent finalized now.
Rex said the city is also sharing growth projections and data with the Denison Independent School District. He said for every 10 houses the city issues permits, the schools gain about four students. He said the average household size is 2.45 individuals. He said the city has been experiencing roughly 2 percent growth annually and is projecting to reach slightly over 45,000 people by 2040 on the high end with lower estimates putting the growth around 38,000 people during that same time.
Rex said the city is working to plan around those projections while taking into consideration for things such as the Sherman-Denison Metropolitan Planning Organizations projects which include bringing a toll road to Denison and while widening Highway 75 to six lanes for a stretch between FM 1417 and SH 91. This stretch, known as “the gap” is expected to bring future economic development to the city. Rex said it is better to plan accordingly now.
The city is projecting to work on $22.4 million worth of road projects for 2020. The funding will be a mix of resources including $9.8 million from utility capital improvement project bonds and $12.6 million to come from general fund bonds.
The main projects the city is focusing on for 2020 include a stretch of Flora Lane that serves multiple DISD school campuses. Rex said that project is expected to begin construction in the next couple of months. He said it is a priority for the city as the goal is to have it completed before the start of the 2020-2021 fall school year. He said it should take about 10 months to complete.
Rex said the city is planning on presenting a five-year utility rate plan that will set rates that the council can adjust annually as needed. The funds from that revenue, he said, will help with capital improvement projects.
The next step in the budget process is to bring items to the city council at the July 15 meeting. Then on Aug. 9 the city manager will life the proposed budget to the council. Between August and September the council will finalize discussions before approving the final budget.
What do you think about the new Denison proposed budget breakdown? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know at RTodd@HeraldDemocrat.com.