By Joe Reavis
Wylie City Council begins budget work in earnest Thursday when they start meeting with department heads to review expense requests.
The budget work session is set for 6 p.m. at Wylie Municipal Complex, 300 Country Club Road.
Presentations will be made for the planning/building, engineering, Wylie Economic Development Corporation, public services and police/animal control departments.
A second round of department budget presentations is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, and a final budget work session will be held Tuesday, July 28, as part of a regular council session.
City Manager Mindy Manson reports that budget estimates show city general fund revenue in fiscal year 2015-’16 of $33.3 million and expenses of $31.4 million. The revenue number is based on an assumed nine percent increase in assessed property values, five percent increase in sales tax revenues and 350 new home starts, calculated at a total increase from last year of $1.88 million.
Manson was asked by council members last month to calculate revenues based on a one cent reduction in the property tax rate, a change that provides increased revenue of $1 million this year.
Exact property tax revenue cannot be determined, however, until property values are certified by Collin Central Appraisal District later this month.
The city manager pointed out in a letter to council members that the unassigned fund balance should be equal to 25 percent of expenditures in the general fund. Current estimates put the balance at 30 percent of expenditures, or $10.1 million of which $1.77 million is the overage from the 25 percent level.
To fund expense requests, especially if the tax rate is lowered, up to $775,000 in unencumbered funds can be used from the unassigned fund balance and still retain the 25 percent of expenses mark.
The city charter requires city staff to submit a new budget by Aug. 5, unless the council agrees to an extension. The council will meet Aug. 11 to discuss the property tax rate, hold a public hearing on the tax rate on Aug. 25 and Sept. 1, if necessary, and adopt the budget and staff rate on Sept. 8.