New property, projects impact city budget

In News by Reporter News

New construction in Friendswood plays a key role in the expected additional property tax revenue for the city, as well as a lower effective tax rate.

A public hearing on the 2015-16 city budget is set to take place on Sept. 14, and final adoption of the budget expected on Oct. 5. City Council began addressing the total $49.5 million budget in a workshop Aug. 3.

Staff reported that the effective tax rate for the coming year is estimated at .5451 cents per $100 of assessed value – nearly 5 cents less than the current rate of .5914. Based on this, maintaining the current tax rate would bring in an additional $1.4 million.

The city’s projected new construction value is estimated at $71 million.

The voter-approved 2013 bond package is not expected to impact the tax rate in the coming fiscal year.

However, this doesn’t mean that the projects funded by bonds won’t soon begin to affect budgeting, Assistant City Manager Morad Kabiri told the council during its recent budget discussion, since more amenities spells more maintenance requirements.

“The library is being expanded by 6,000 square feet,” he said of the project expected to be complete in 2016.

“Staffing aside, we will have an impact to insurance for the building because it’s now bigger. We’ll have an impact to janitorial costs and utilities.”

In addition, an expansion to Whispering Pines Avenue and Friendswood Link is set to be complete soon, along with Sportspark improvements.

“We’re doubling the field space out there,” Kabiri said. “Historically, we spend about $40,000 in electricity costs there. By doubling the field space and doubling the concession-restroom buildings, we will be increasing the power consumption needs at the park. We will implement energy efficient techniques and tools, but we will still see an increase in cost.”

A trail system and bridge, dog park at Old City Park, a park at Lake Friendswood and other projects set to be complete also will add costs of upkeep.

“These costs we don’t anticipate hitting our books until late next fiscal year if not the year after, but we want you to be well aware of them in advance,” he told the council.

City Council meets at City Hall, 910 S. Friendswood. Agendas are posted 72 hours in advance on the city’s website, www.friendswood.tx.us.

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