Devine City Council approves tax rate, balanced budget

The City of Devine passed a 2018 tax rate of $0.5110 per $100 of valuation, and a $10 million dollar budget for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 at a Special meeting held last Tuesday, September 26.
Overall, the budget features $5.1 million in revenue and $5 million in expenditures.
General fund estimates include $3.2 million in revenue and $3.2 million in expenditures, with a surplus of just under $9,000.
The water and sewer fund is expected to have revenues of $1.7 million and expenditures of $1.8 million, resulting in a deficit of $102,000.
“Of that $102,000, the cash flow will increase it to $268,000,” City Financial Advisor Mary Badillo said. “Just to give you an explanation of cash flow, in the expenses at the very top, there’s a line item called depreciation. So if we buy a capital item, and let’s say it’s $10,000, that item will go into a capital item line item. We depreciate that over however many years, 5 years, 10 years, or whatever years. That’s a depreciation. So the depreciation isn’t cash, so we add that back in, but we take out the capital items, so that’s what the cash flow is. So it tries to offset it to let you know, ‘Okay, this is the actual cash that’s going to be going in or out.’ So with that in mind, then the net cash flow will be $164,000 for the sewer and water.”
The debt services fund is projected to have $126,000 in revenue and $121,000 in expenses, leaving of surplus of just over $5,000.
Total revenues for the lodging tax are estimated at $9,266, with expenditures being the same.
Badillo said a lot had been cut from the initial proposed FY 2017-2018 budget. All capital outlays were cut except for an upgrade to the City’s payroll software, which Badillo described as, “very vital.”
Councilman Cory Thompson questioned what he described as nearly five percent increases in the budget over each of the last two years.
Badillo said that the cost of living has gone up as have expenses the City has no control over, such as electricity and health care. The City covers 100 percent of the health care for employees. Mayor Bill Herring pointed out that the money budgeted for street repair was increased to $635,000.
Badillo spoke about some of the cost-cutting measures that had been taken to lower the budget, such as cutting employees’ cost of living increases from four percent to three percent, and scaling back on longevity and overtime pay.
“The budget is a living document,” Badillo said. “We’re going to come back and revisit it. We’re going to cut, add, and so forth, hopefully in about three months to see where we are.”
A Kathy Wilkins-Steve Lopez motion to adopt the budget as presented passed 4-1, Thompson dissenting. A David Espinosa-Wilkins motion to adopt an Ordinance establishing the budget then passed 5-0.
Tax rate
The 2018 tax rate remained steady at $0.5110 per $100. In comparison, Castroville adopted a 2018 tax rate of $0.5041, while Hondo’s proposed rate is $0.5139. Natalia’s tax rate is $0.8564.
A Wilkins-David Valdez motion to adopt the tax rate, and a Lopez-Espinosa motion to adopt an Ordinance establishing it both passed unanimously.
The next Regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 6:00 pm.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer