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Sherman reconciles 2020 budget ahead of fiscal year end

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
The Sherman city council approved a last round of budget amendments aimed at closing out the 2010-2020 fiscal year.

As a part of end-of-year wrap up, the city of Sherman approved a series of amendments to the 2019-2020 budget.

The city historically has approved a final budget reconciliation each year ahead of the end of its fiscal year at the end of September. This year’s amendments included two major utility projects that were not initially anticipated.

“The budget is being amended for additional revenues of about 4.3 million and expenditures of about $6 million,” Sherman Director of Finance Mary Lawrence said. “The difference between those being about $1.7 million.”

Staff noted that a large portion of these changes represent inter-fund activity where the city is moving funds from one account to another.

About one-third of the additional expenses relate to utility improvement projects that were originally not budgeted for the year. These projects include a utility relocation project along center street related to the ongoing U.S. Highway 75 expansion project.

The southwest sewer extension, which provides sewer service to the new Sherman High School site was also not budgeted for this year and needed to be added. Staff added that a utility line also needed to be relocated due to railroad concerns this year.

The budget update also included $400,000 for fire department overtime. Council member Sandra Melton asked why the city could not use federal funding for COVID-19 expenses on the overtime use.

City Manager Robby Hefton said the expenses, while labeled overtime, were more related to changes within the department. The department recently changed how time is calculated within the department, and this included some mandatory hours.

“In all other worlds other than civil service and municipal government this would just be a part of the employee’s base, but because of how this is tracked it is coded as overtime,” Hefton said.

With regard to additional revenues, the city’s airport fund saw $109,000 in additional funding in 2019-2020. This includes $50,000 as a part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Routine Airport Maintenance Program. The remaining funding was provided as a part of reimbursements from SkyTrust, who are pursing a residential development outside the airport and entered into an agreement with the city in February regarding the construction of new hangars.

Council Member Shawn Teamann said he was happy to see both the revenues and expenses shown as a part of the final amendment.

“You hear all the time about money going out — we vote about it. You very seldom hear about it coming in,” he said.

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.