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Highlights of proposed Abilene city budget explained

By Ariana Garza, Weekend Anchor/Crime & Courts Reporter, agarza@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 08 2013 04:47:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 08 2013 06:15:54 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

City of Abilene employees could soon receive another pay raise. The proposal is included in the proposed fiscal year 2013-2014 budget.

The proposed general fund budget stands at $79,112,270 -- which is a 4.5 percent increase from the Fiscal Year 13 original budget of $75.7 million.

Abilene Assistant Director of Finance Mike Rains said the increase is possible because “we have several increases in revenue items -- sales taxes, we're projecting that to increase slightly -- property taxes actually going down -- the tax values have increased slightly but we're actually lowering the property tax rate because of the savings in debt service with doing the capital improvement projects with cash funds this year instead of issuing debt.”

The proposed tax rate stands at 68.14 cents per $100 valuation, which is less than half a cent down from the FY 13 rate of 68.6 cents.

“For a $100,000 home, property taxes for 2013 were $686 and for [FY] 14, we're projecting that to be $681,” Rains said.

But that’s only if your home value does not change.

Taylor County’s Chief Appraiser Richard Petree said property values have recently increased about 3 percent. The Cline Shale oil boom could make those values increase even more if more companies move to Abilene.

“If that happens we could see a nice takeoff but we’re not ready at this point to say that that's going to happen yet,” Petree said. “My guess is it’s going to occur more during the year of [FY] 14 and then it'll affect in the 2015 tax role.”

The FY 14 proposed budget also projects higher sales tax revenue which allows city leaders to propose a 3 percent salary increase for all employees.

Employees got a 3.5 percent raise last year but were faced with furlough days in 2010.

“We would like the city of Abilene to be an employer of choice to where we can recruit the best and brightest and have a great staff,” Rains said. “So we try and do that to make us competitive with other cities and other industries.”

Under the proposed budget, city programs,services and fees would remain the same. 

City council will begin budget workshops at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, July 23 in City Council Chambers located inside City Hall at 555 Walnut Street. Workshops will continue Wednesday if necessary.

Click here to view a copy of the proposed budget.