Marble Falls Council puts forward $32 million budget, lower tax rate, fee breaks for most

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Public hearings Tuesday, Aug. 15, unveiled a final proposed budget based on a tax rate slightly lower than the effective rate and including proposed utility fee increases lower than anticipated for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 in the City of Marble Falls.

Finance Director Margie Cardenas presented a budget for programs and services of $32 million with general fund expenditures of $10.404 million.

According to the council decision Aug. 1, Cardenas and her staff based the budget on an ad valorem tax rate of .6340, or 63.4 cents per $100,000, lower than the current rate of .6483. Nonetheless, the rate will apply to a certified tax valuation that has risen about eight percent to $726 million for an increase.


Granite Shoals Council fighting financial fire

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Caught doing something good: Granite Shoals City Council Member Anita Hisey, right, was spotted picking up litter on Phillips Ranch Road recently by former Mayor Dennis Maier, left. Calling himself a "self-appointed committee of one," surprised her at the Tuesday night, Aug. 8, council meeting with an impromptu "Trash Picker-Upper" award, a long-handled grabber to help with any future impulse to clean up what "inconsiderate litterers" leave behind.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The Granite Shoals City Council has faced a challenging year of unknowns surrounding costs of road repair, but another issue fanning the flames of financial woes has been rising fire department costs.

At their meeting Tuesday, Aug. 8, it was clear council members and staff consider a new stream of financial support from surrounding communities the only remedy.

Granite Shoals Fire Rescue provides fire protection for the adjacent City of Highland Haven and the large, outlying rural communities of Burnet County Emergency Service District #3 (ESD3), each looking at the end of a contract for services that ends Sept. 30.

“My view is, they need to pay their fair share,” said City Manager Ken Nickel, looking specifically at ESD3. “They collect 7.5 cents per $100,000 valuation from their property owners. They have a fund balance of $400,000.


Llano County residents upset by jail study, possible 'depopulation'

This story appeared in the Tuesday, Aug. 6, edition of The Highlander. It prompted a letter to the editor on Thursday, Aug. 10, also found here on HighlanderNews.com and to be included in the Friday, Aug. 11, print edition of The Highlander.

By Phil Reynolds

The Highlander

Llano County commissioners got an earful Monday from county residents who want to keep the county jail open.

Commissioners held a budget workshop but part of that involved a study by Precinct One Commissioner Peter Jones on the feasibility of turning Llano County Jail prisoners over to Burnet County under a contract yet to be written.

Jones emphasized that he hasn’t finished the study. But he said preliminary numbers indicate that the county could save some $170,000 a year by sending inmates to the reginal jail in Burnet.

Llano County now sends about 21 percent of its prisoners to Burnet, but Jones conceded that that’s partly because of a need to separate male and female inmates. The Burnet jail, originally a privately-owned facility, has 587 inmate beds, of which 470 are now in use. Jones said it costs Llano County $15-$20 per day per inmate to send prisoners to Burnet.


Horseshoe Bay City Council approves slight property tax increase to 26 cents

Melissa Kanz/The Highlander

Teresa Moore accepts a plaque from Mayor Steve Jordan to thank her for her excellent service to the City of Horseshoe Bay. Moore will retire Sept. 30. Jordan also declared Sept. 26-30 to be Teresa Moore Week.


By Melissa Kanz

The Highlander

Horseshoe Bay residents will see a slight increase on their property taxes after city council members voted to increase the tax to offset utility costs. Members also approved the 2017 budget.

Increasing from $0.25 per $100 valuation to $0.26 per $100 valuation, the city is expected to use the funds exclusively for its rate stabilization fund, which will then be used to offset some of the utility increase.

“This is something council has been considering. The issue was what we have and what we need to balance the budget. It was inevitable that it could be greater,” Horseshoe Bay Mayor Steve Jordan said.

The increase comes after council members were advised there would be around 9 percent increase in utilities to include water and wastewater.


Ridgemont Village gets Community Pride Award, council hears budget, tax rate


The first annual Community Pride Award is presented to Ridgemont Village for spring cleaning beautification within the city. Mayor John Packer is joined for the presentation at the Marble Falls City Council meeting Aug. 16 by, continuing left, Scott Matthews, Ridgemont Village owner; resident Dee Guinn, and Kelly Crane, Ridgemont Village manager.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Ridgemont Village, a retirement community at 92 Gateway North, has been named recipient of the first annual Marble Falls Community Pride Award.

The award was first on the agenda of the Marble Falls City Council in a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 16, that included also the first public hearing on a budget and tax rate and an encouraging report on the city's relationship with Baylor Scott & White.

“I want to thank Ridgmont Village for taking part in this effort to enhance the appearanceof our community,” said Mayor John Packer in welcome to Scott and Gail Matthews, owners of the gated, hilltop development, and their manager Kelly Crane.

Crane introduced Adrian and Dee Guinn, saying “Dee was the one who read about the award in the newspaper and nominated us. The Guinns are representative of our residents who care about the place where they live.”


Llano County Budget nearly finalized

With one of the lowest tax rates in the state, Llano County proposes holding the line again on 2016 taxes.

by Phil Reynolds
The Highlander
Llano County commissioners started the clock ticking on final approval of the 2016-2017 budget and tax rate Monday when they unanimously approved proposed figures for both.
They have 30 days from that vote to make the decision final. Public hearings on both the tax rate and the budget are scheduled for the regular commissioner meeting at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 12, at the justice of the peace courtroom in the Llano County Law Enforcement Center, 2001 N. Bessemer St. in Llano.
The proposed budget is $14,719,664, $253,231 more than the budget County Judge Mary Cunningham originally offered commissioners and $623,554 more than the current budget.
Most of the difference between the final proposal and Cunningham’s offer came in increases for law enforcement agencies, the judge said.


Granite Shoals considers small tax rate increase

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The Granite Shoals City Council on Tuesday night, Aug. 9, heard a review of a staff proposed budget and agreed to publish a tax rate they would not exceed: $0.5572 per $100 valuation.

That rate represents a sliver of an increase over the 2015 rate of $0.5207, just about three and a half cents per $100 valuation. But it falls below the rollback rate but above the effective rate, bringing in this year's ad valorem tax revenue to $2.4 million.

The hard decisions on a staff proposed budget of $6.76 million will be on the table at a budget workshop Monday, Aug. 15.

Development slowed in Granite Shoals last year over the previous six percent hike in property valuation. The 2.9 percent increase in valuation would add only $56,000 to revenue if the full 55.72 cents per $100 were instituted.


Meadowlakes taxes inch down



The Meadowlakes City Council meets next on Aug. 16, but most of their hard end-of-year is done, with the budget hearing and tax rate adoption not set until Sept. 20.

In a special session on July 27, the council adopted a proposed ad valorem tax rate for 2016 of $0.3186 per $100 valuation. That is about six-tenths of a percent less than last year's tax rate.

In her digital newsletter to citizens, Mayor Mary Ann Reasoner compared that decision to a similar choice in Marble Falls to propose continuing their rate, scraping just under the effective rate.

Subscribe to RSS - budget