Farmersville finally passes budget
Halfway through the current fiscal year, Farmersville finally has a 2013-14 budget.
At the Jan. 27 Farmersville City Council meeting, the Council voted to adopt its 2013-14 budget normally passed in June of the previous fiscal year.
Interim City Manager Mario Krstic told the Council the City has been operating on an emergency spending budget since the start of the fiscal year.
“We have the benefit of having been able to track revenues and expenditures to date and as a result have made extremely conservative assumptions related to revnue and made efforts to keep expenditures controlled,” he stated in his agenda report.
The $6 million budget is $1.5 million less than the previous year’s budget. Krstic said the reason for the drop in expenditures was in part due to the “unprecendented and unanticipated” payout of five long-tenured and high ranking staff members including former Finance Director Patty Miller, former City Manager Renee Miller, former Public Works Director Eliseo Martinez and former Police Lt. Mike Marquez. With the loss of senior staff, including half of City Hall, Krstic said the City was forced to bring in outside consultants to assist in getting its “financial house in order” and other one-time expenses that were not accounted for in the 2012-13 budget.
“This had a significant impact on the general fund as many of these were one-time expenses,” he stated in his report. “Staff is reservedly optimistic that things are now back under control.”
Part of that control is not only financial but replacing those officials. In October, Farmersville hired XXXXXX as finance director and has completed its interviews for a new city manager. The new officials will allow Krstic to return to his primary duty of being Chief of Police.
However, most of the reduction in spending from one year to the next occurred in the area of Public Works. Total streets and grounds appropriations are down $1.4 million. Specifically the City will spend nearly half a million less on streets through June than it did in the previous year. Much of the street projects in 2012-13 included preliminary plans to widen Farmersville Boulevard from Walnut Avenue north to Highway 198.
The other major reduction was $400,000 in the Health and Safety fund. Most of this was due to the City’s plans to build a new Wastewater Treatment Facility. The City must expand its capacity in order to attract larger employers and industrial/commercial clients. As of 200X, a report conducted by the City said it was already nearing capacity and would soon be out of compliance with state law.
“The budget has no major purchases or projects that are General Fund related,” Krstic wrote. “All major projects and purchases will be through grant funds or other restricted funding sources.”
Several departments saw some much needed increases including the understaffed areas of police and fire.
Somewhat related to police, the City also increased Code Enforcement $33,000, unless to pay for a full-time person or at least a part-time employee.
“The budget also includes the restoration of some benefits that were previously suspended via mutual agreement with the bargaining units,” the report stated.
Farmersville will also spend more on parks maintenance (up by $3,886), the Library (up by $500) and the Church/Museum on Farmersville Boulevard (up by $200).
Krstic said the 2012-13 audit should be completed by March, putting the City on track to begin its budgeting process for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
“[This] will put the City back on an acceptable schedule for budget adoptions, year-end closings and audits,” he stated in the report. “Adoption of the proposed budget
Krstic’s report went on to state staff is recommending an “extremely cautious” approach to budgeting over the next two to three years. He stated it was important to grow the general fund reserve to a level sufficient for working capital as well as the ability to absorb unforeseen expenses throughout the year.
“The budget does project revenues exceeding expenditures but at a very close margin, so fiscal restraint should be the rule of the day,” Krstic concluded.