Meadowlakes council approves budget, tax rate

City hits snag on new solid waste contract


By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The Meadowlakes City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 19, adopted a tax rate and budget and tackled a trash tote problem that challenges the pristine curbside appearance of the city.

Unanimous approval was given for the previously proposed tax rate of $0.315 (or 3.15 cents) per $100 property value. It is comprised of $0.1512 per $100 for the interest and sinking fund (I&S) and $0.1638 for maintenance and operation (M&O).

It will support a budget for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018 of $3,920,055 in expenses in the general, utility and recreation funds and debt service.

That is about $3,570 more than last year, mostly for capital improvements” said City Manager Johnnie Thompson. “About $232,000 of that is for improvements in the raw water intake and water plant. Approximately $125,000 is planned for improvements in the golf course and its buildings.”

"This Budget will raise more revenue from property taxes than last year's budget by an amount of

$32,347,” said Thompson. That is a 4.6 percent increase from last year's budget. The property tax revenue raised from new property added to the tax roll is $9,986."

“Since our home values have increased, the taxes due on the average home will increase around $20 total,” said Mayor Mary Ann Raesener.

The council took a long look at the new proposed five-year contract with Republic Services. The problem was not the price increase of about $1 a week. It is the first in somewhere between five and eight years.

The problem is with something the city will get more of—room in their recycle bins. That is a problem that has put the contract approval, due by Jan. 1, on hold.

The Meadowlakes community is Republic's most enthusiastic recycler, setting out more than four tons of the stuff every other week. And, that is beyond 10-15 tons of material on bulk pick-up days, according to a 2015 annual report by Republic.

“About 70 percent of Meadowlakes home recycle, and some of us fill two containers,” said Raesener.

The Republic proposal is to replace the 18-gallon, blue recycle totes, as it is about to do under a new Marble Falls contract, with 96-gallon wheeled containers, similar to existing Meadowlakes trash containers.

Meadowlakes residents are prevented by ordinance from leaving trash and recycle containers in view after pick up. In a city where many homes date to the mid-1970s, one-car garages abound and two-car garages are as filled to the brim as anywhere else in the country.

“Since Meadowlakes does not allow the containers to be visible from the street, they must go in the garage or behind the house,” said Raesener. “We will have to figure this out…but change is never easy.”

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