Saturday, August 11, 2018

Rain?, Council and the Budget, Wildlife Committee and More!

It looks like the weather is a changin - they're saying we are going to get some much needed rain this weekend, I hope so!  So far not much, 0.15 inch overnight, about 3AM.  Check out my weather station - it will give you the up to the minute totals.  There is also a link at the upper right corner - "15th Tee Live Oak Weather".

Council met in special session Monday this week.  Here is the agendaHere is the line to the video if you have a few hours to spare.  Very few in the audience.  More or less a budget meeting but other business also took place.  Following were appointed to the Arts Committee - Sarah Walters, Sue Ellen Knolle, Dan Kubala, Allisyn Martin, Bob Michelson, Janet Wright and Emily Thurman was added at the last minute by the Mayor.

Following were appointed to the Parks and Rec. committee; Erwin Boettcher, Chair, George Blume, Anthony Coley,  Jerry Cooper,  Alyssa Mangrum and Dr. Larry Yancey.

Jim Nelson was appointed as Treasurer.

They then went into the budget process.  Ms. Oakley gave reports on the increases in insurance costs - 15% (down from 19% originally projected) and some increase in liability insurance.  There were also other savings in other areas including the Activity Center and salaries in other departments.

There was also discussion on unintended consequences of accepting donations - i.e. we received a police dog and now it is in the best interest of the city to spend $85K plus to fill a handler position for an asset that currently is utilized at about 20%.  

Security issues for the dais were discussed, some moving forward and some not.  Security is a big issue, I had significant threats and damage to my auto during meetings.  

Help for the web page was discussed.  There was a discussion on how to fund committee / commissions expenses.  Council discussed building a fund to pay for their desires.  The way this has been done in the past was the committee submitted a budget and request to department head and that is included in their budget request.  Putting money in a fund that is not on a budget item is like a slush fund.  It may be easier than doing a budget amendment but I would be cautious about funding an account because committee's will be looking to spend the money - especially when council is suggesting a raise in taxes.

Council also looked at the recapture rate of the swim center and activity center.  That means raising the rates to increase the amount that users fund the expense.  Currently the recapture goal is 35%, the thought was to raise that goal to 50%.  That could be a significant increase in user fees.

Currently the city funds many projects from the budget surplus at the end of the year - it is transferred into the capital reserve fund.  Now the thought is to fund that - especially for vehicle purchase.  Vehicles should always be budgeted, not left to chance on a surplus.

Council was required to set a "not to exceed" tax rate in this session.  The rate proposed is 0.1297 for M&O and 0.0444 for I&S for a total of 0.1741.  The rollback rate (rate that would cause an automatic election) is 0.1759.  This is the same "rate" as last year.  Unfortunately for you and I, most of us had a property value increase of about 5%.  This equates to a tax increase of about 5%.  Hopefully, they will "sharpen the pencil" and lower that rate a little - that is what has been done for many years to protect the citizens.  
About 10 years ago the tax rate was about .24 per $100. 
The Wildlife Committee met Thursday evening.  My understanding there was a small turnout.  Here is the agenda.  
(4) There was discussion on hiring a wildlife biologist - possibly the one that manages Sun City.  
(5) There was discussion about a "temporary" hold on the TTP process - since the trapping would not start until January, that should give the committee time to get a legitimate survey and determine the size of the population.  The herd grows significantly every year, if paused too long there is no way to catch up.
(6)  The committee is looking for any possible locations to transport deer to.  Not easy in Texas - deer are overpopulated across the state.
There was a presentation on the history of the deer issue by Chairman Charles Edwards.  Here is that presentation.  

CBC met in regular session Thursday, light agenda and nothing special came from the meeting.  Here was the agenda.
The August 10th Movies in the Park presentation of "Peter Rabbit" was rescheduled to August 17th because of weather concerns. 

Apparently the Police Report has been replaced with the statistical report that was pulled from the web site several weeks ago.  Here's a link - you decide.

The work has started on the new Medical Office Building in the hospital district.  There are more pictures on my website, .  I've also started a Facebook page where I will post new info about the surrounding area.  Check it out and like the page for updates!

I reported last week on a couple of guys doing auto body repair and messing up several cars.  Please use reputable folks to do dent and body repair!  For small repairs, check out Fix-A-Dent near Hudson Bend - great service and work!  For large jobs check out Whitaker's on 620 - also great work.  I've used both and they are both reputable and do good work.  Don't try to save a buck and don't pay cash!

Unfortunately we made the news again - a resident allegedly tried to trade alcohol and vape supplies for sexual favors.  Here is a link to a KVUE story.  Our city is growing and that is not all good.

Hopefully we will get some much needed rain this weekend.  I am looking forward to it.  

Check out my new site, or the Facebook site
Sky Pictures .

I'd appreciate any referrals, likes or shares.  If you need some photo's, send me a note and I'll take care of it.  

Thanks for all the support!  If you would like to be added to my email list send a note to and I'll get it taken care of.

Joe Bain

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