Council graphic

The Cleburne City Council on Tuesday night approved a property tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year that is nearly 7 cents lower than the current rate.

The adopted rate of 0.690498 per $100 of property valuation is 6.96 cents less than the current rate to be exact.

The city’s new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

Several factors played into the city’s ability to cut the rate, Cleburne City Manager Steve Polasek said, including increases expected from ad valorem tax revenues thanks to continued growth throughout Cleburne. The city will see relief in debt service obligations in this and the years ahead, Polasek added. 

Debt service obligations will decrease by $743,000 in the upcoming fiscal year and is scheduled to reduce by another $900,000 in the year following, Polasek said.

As always, Polasek said he and other city officials approached the budget from a fiscally conservative point of view.

“On revenues we always forecast lower than what we think we’re really going to get,” Polasek said while discussing the budget in August. “That keeps up out of trouble.”

Council members on Tuesday also approved the city budget for the upcoming year, a budget that totals $99 million excluding reserve funds. 

The new budget includes 2.5 percent merit increases for employees, capital improvements including street and water projects and equipment upgrades as well and new position additions to police, animal services, building inspection and several other city departments as needed to meet the needs of a growing city.

The budget calls for no new ad valorem or Enterprise Fund debt in the new fiscal year but does include lease purchase payments for a new pump truck for the Cleburne Fire Department at a rate of $211,957 annually for the next five years and the purchase of storage area network needs at a cost of $34,880 per year over the next three years.

Mayor Scott Cain dubbed the budget top notch and complimented Polasek and staff, noting that the staff spend months every year in preparing the budget.

Councilman Derek Weathers agreed

“It begins with the city council,” Polasek said in returning the compliment. “It’s what we see and hear from you and based on what you all are trying to do in meeting city needs. Planning the budget starts in Mach and is a long, well thought out process.”

Savings opportunity

Cleburne Director of Finance Rhonda Daugherty discussed the possibility of refinancing $25,380,000 in city bonds at lower rates given that rates remain near historical lows and based on Cleburne’s “very strong financial condition” as attested by Fitch, Moody’s and other rating services. 

Taking advantage of refinancing opportunities would save the city considerable money over the life of the bonds, Daugherty said. 

Cain declared Friday as POW/MIA Recognition Day in Cleburne and urged residents to never forget the service men and women still missing and unaccounted for as well as their families.

Cleburne Mayor Pro Tem Chris Boedeker proclaimed Friday through Sept. 23 as Constitution Week in Cleburne. Boedeker reminded residents that Friday marks the 224th anniversary of the framing of the U.S. Constitution and urged residents to reaffirm the ideas and ideals of the framers of the Constitution through working diligently to guard our liberties and protect the freedoms guaranteed to us.

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