Sherman focuses on past, future during budgeting process

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Sherman City Manager Robby Hefton talks during the city's annual budget retreat Thursday.

Sherman city leaders pledged Thursday to balance the past and future when budgeting for the upcoming year. Members of city staff and the city council gathered Thursday for the city's annual budget retreat where many proposed projects and priorities are discussed ahead of the drafting of the budget this fall.

For this year's budget cycle, city leaders said the projects are aimed at support upcoming growth in the city while also working to maintain the development that has already taken place within the city through street, park and other projects.

"I'd say that the balance we've been asked to strike by the council is in addition to focusing on the growth and development and all that it entails throughout the city that we are also mindful of what we already have," City Manager Robby Hefton said Thursday. "We spent a large part of this morning talking about how that is going to play out."

This year's budget retreat is being split across two days at the request of the city council. Thursday discussions focused on the current state of the city and an update on current projects. Friday's discussions were focused on future projects, including an update to water and sewer rates and updates to city planning documents.

The budget retreat comes at a time when the city is experiencing a recent surge in growth and development, particularly focused on the housing side. Preliminary numbers from the central appraisal district have Sherman poised to see more a $360 million increase in its tax base from a combination of new property and increased value.

Hefton said the city will likely see a budget of more than $100 million once it is fully drafted. However, he emphasized that the document is still early in the planning phase.

Thursday's discussions covered a wide variety of topics ranging from an update on the police station project, new road projects that will likely see work in the next two years, and the results of multiple smaller projects aimed at restoring existing streets, among other topics.

With regard to future projects, Hefton said the city is focusing on developments driven by third parties, including  the three planned developments in the city and a fourth that has yet to formally present plans to the city. 

Following the two budget retreats, city staff will take the recommendations offered by the council and draft a formalized budget that is expected to be approved before the new fiscal year in October.