By DAVID LOPEZ
At a special City Commission meeting and budget workshop this week, City Manager Manuel De La Rosa recommended that the Ad Valorem property tax rate be maintained and not increased from its regular amount of .728125 per $100 valuation for the upcoming fiscal year 2020-2021.
Other highlights of the proposed budget include $1 million in street repairs and a three-percent increase in City workers’ salaries.
During the public hearing portion, resident Joe F. Rodriguez asked the City administration what the “unassigned funds” were in the budget.
Director of Finance Belen Peña answered, “We are adding street repairs. Those are additional funds from our unassigned funds. Under streets, we budget $450,000; we added $550,000, so that will be $1 million for street repairs.”
She explained that the City has received $11 million in revenues from October 2019 through July 2020 and its expenses are currently at $9.1 million.
“So we have unassigned funds of $2.2 million. We want to use some of those funds for the streets for this coming budget,” she said. “So at the end of the fiscal year, whatever amount is at the end of September, will go to the unassigned funds.”
Last week, De La Rosa explained that the $450k regularly budgeted for street repairs will go to sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and others, like speed humps.
The $550k coming out of the unassigned reserves will be completely dedicated toward residential roadways.
The three percent proposed salary increase for City employees will be further discussed in the second reading of the ordinance to adopt a budget for fiscal year 2020-2021.
“It is a budget that is not written in stone, it can be changed, amended, increased, or reduced as we go forward,” said De La Rosa.
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