Sherman city leaders will gather together Thursday morning to hash out and discuss city projects for the upcoming year during its annual budget retreat. While not immediate, officials have voiced concerns that the pandemic may have long-lasting effects going into the next fiscal year.
The day-long meeting, which is open to the public, allow members of the city council and other city leaders to weigh in and give feedback on how the city should allocate its budget for the upcoming year.
This year’s retreat, which will be held at 8 a.m. in the Sherman Municipal Ballroom, is expected to be an eventful discussion on the city’s budget amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Leading into the budget season city officials voice concerns that the city may see budget shortfalls due to lower-than-expected sales taxes after many businesses closed throughout the spring due to the pandemic. At latest estimate, city officials said they are expecting sales tax revenues to be five percent below what was budgeted.
As a part of these concerns, the city council will discuss if the city should issue debt for projects under the current economic climate.
In the morning, city officials will discuss both ongoing and future capital projects ranging from road and infrastructure improvements to water system upgrades.
Traditionally, this portion of the retreat includes a progress report on many projects, with aerial video.
Another major project that will be discussed is the future of the Sherman Police Station and Sherman Fire-Rescue headquarters. In early 2019, city officials moved forward with site selection and planning for a new $16 million police station, which would expand the capacity for the department.
City officials have not announced a location for the site, but the FM 1417 corridor was highlighted as an area where police would like a more centralized presence.
The new police station would open up the current station as office space for other departments and city personnel. Of not, city officials have discussed moving Sherman Fire-Rescue administration out of station 1 and into the current station. This in turn out return the central station into a more traditional fire station and expand its services.
This also has come during ongoing conversations about reorganizing the layout of the fire department and relocating some stations to better cover the current layout of Sherman in the 21st Century.
Other discussions will include a look at impact fees for future development. The city council first started discussing the possibility of imposing impact fees in 2019 as a way of reducing the impact of development on city funding.
Under impact fees, new businesses and developments would be assessed a one-time fee upon development based on the impact and usage it has one existing infrastructure and the need for new infrastructure. This can come in the form or road or utility usage, as an example.
Other topics that are expected to be discussed include utility rates, area Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones, and the city’s involvement with the Texoma Area Solid Waste Authority.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at email@example.com.