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Falls City council shaves almost 1 percent from tax rate
A handful of Falls City residents witness as Falls City city Councilman Andrew Wiatrek (from left), City Secretary Lauren Sturm, and Mayor Brent Houdmann review the city’s fiscal year 2013 budget during a public hearing prior to the Sept. 19 council meeting.
FALLS CITY -- Residents here will be paying an ad valorem tax rate of 57.1 cents per $100 of assessed property value for the 2013 fiscal year, following a unanimous vote by the Falls City City Council at its Sept. 19 meeting. The tax rate is nearly 1 percent less than the 2012 rate of 57.16 cents.
According to the Karnes County Appraisal District, the average value of a residence within the city limits of Falls City is $55,788. Therefore, the average tax bill under the new rate will be $312.97. This is $9 -- nearly 3 percent -- more than last year’s average tax bill of $303.97, when the average taxable value was $53,178.
The tax rate will support a total budget of $479,505 for the 2013 fiscal year. The spending plan includes a utility budget -- water, sewer, and refuse -- of $288,800. The remaining $190,705 is being allocated for the general budget, which pays for all other city functions.
Both the budget and tax rate were approved during the regular council meeting, which followed a 15-minute public hearing on the budget. No one, including city officials, spoke at the hearing. It was attended by Mayor Brent Houdmann, City Secretary Lauren Sturm, and Councilman Andrew Wiatrek. Councilmen Gery Jendrusch, Steve Swierc, and Clarence Crawford arrived one minute before the hearing ended.
In addition to adopting the budget and tax rate, during the regular meeting the council also discussed the completion of several public works projects that will be funded by a $350,000 drought-relief grant the city received earlier this year. Public Works Supervisor Jeremy Mandel said that Falls City is still working to attract potential bidders. He said that larger companies are too busy performing work generated by the Eagle Ford shale oil boom.
Smaller companies, Mandel said, are finding it difficult to meet the stringent bonding requirements set forth by the Texas Department of Rural Affairs, which awarded the grant. Mandel said the city might have to divide the project, which will include tasks such as the installation of a submersible pump for one of the city’s water wells, into smaller jobs.
Mandel said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had given the city until Oct. 24 before it would face enforcement action. He said he already has asked for an extension and is awaiting an answer.
Also during the meeting, the council voted to:
•Negotiate an oil and natural gas lease of city-owned property with Mantacore Oil and Gas.
•Increase Mandel’s pay to $20 per hour, following a closed session meeting about his review.
*** In attendance: Mayor Brent Houdmann and councilmen Clarence Crawford, Gery Jendrusch, Steve Swierc, and Andrew Wiatrek; City Secretary Lauren Sturm and Public Works Supervisor Jeremy Mandel.
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