Council plans lower tax rate, nixes BBQ cookoff, adds new events

During its regular Aug. 06, 2019 meeting, the Forney City Council met and in summary: set public hearings for budget, tax rate (which will be reduced by 4 cents) and FWSD #6, stated preferences for a charter review committee, approved RFP for vendors to provide alcohol sales at Spellman Amphitheater.(watch official video)

  • Public Comment - none.   There was no public.
  • Approved, as one consent item:
    • the quarterly investment report ending 6/30/19.
    • a Resolution setting the date, time and place for public hearings on a proposed Strategic Partnership Agreement between the City of Forney and Kaufman County Fresh Water Supply District No. 6 and the voluntary annexation for limited purposes of collecting sales tax on a tract of land consisting of 34.263 acres, situated in the Martha Musick Survey, Abstract No. 312, Kaufman County, Texas, KCAD Property ID No. 9714.
    • a Resolution approving an Interlocal Agreement between the City of Forney and North Central Texas Emergency Communications District (NCT9-1-1) for the provision of 9-1-1 services.

  • Vision 2025 -- Goals and Initiatives - no update.
  • Approved the 2019 Certified Tax Roll.   Ms. Woodham gave a budget presentation, and said expecting 13.87% revenue increase, 7.45% increase in expenses.   Property values up 55% over last 5 years, 16% in the last year.   Dropped tax rate 11.8 cents over last 5 years, decreasing by 4 cents this year.   Police budget adds Assistant Chief.   Engineering Dept. last year was all outsourced, now have full-time engineer and rearranged staff.   Legal services includes new part-time prosecutor.   City Manager's budget eliminates assistant City Manager.
        General operating reserve - will be $5 mill.   Mayor Penn asked about 2012 tornado, if used fund then - Ms. Woodham wasn't here, but doesn't think so.   HOT funds: expect slight increase due to new hotel.   Budgeting only for city events.   Special events budget: total of $432k: $188k HOT, general fund $135k, events revenue 109k.   Added Brews on Bois d'Arc and NYE Ball Drop, Removed BBQ cookoff, independence day funds increased for all-day event.   Rearranged advertising budget: was general fund item before, assigning to individual events now, including major concert series this year.
        Roadway Impact fund, from new construction - budgeted a review study.
        Building Security fund, from court fees.   Tech fund from tickets, only for court tech.   Juvenile fund, Mr. Thomas, Mayor Penn, Mr. Moon asks what funds used for.   Mr. Thatcher said some goes to state, some retained by city, must be used for juvenile case manager.   Truancy cases were criminal until recently, now more civil, fund usage enumerated by state law.
        Utility fund proposed 2.4% increase for water, 16% sewer, 5% for CWD.   Today got notice of lesser sewer increase.   Expenses have dropped, new positions were not filled, some positions were moved to other departments.   Capital purchases for water dept of $220k.   Reserve for 3 months - $3.6 million.   Mr. Johnson says reserve helps with bond ratings.   Water impact fund - will update study, sewer fund also from new construction, interceptor fund pays NTMWD debt, last year changed sewer fee from $9 to $16 due to Mustang Creek lift station.
        Debt Service fund, portion of property tax goes here, all TxDOT income goes here, expenses are for retiring bonds.
        EDC majority revenue from sales tax, will transfer to general fund to cover portion of legal expenses, utilities.
        Cap Improvement Projects = $3.2 million, includes Community Development and Public Works building expansions for 1.1 mill, Public Works and Storage on Kaufman St for 450k, Christmas light attraction for $400k, Technology improvements $601k, Drainage study and repairs $600k.  
        TIRZ income will be 1.2 million.
        Mr. Johnson asked about impact fees, if homes in Overland Grove were just model homes - Mr. Morgan said yes, but they have started pulling permits, fees are paid on permit pickup.   Mr. Thomas asked what tax roll increase was - 16%.
        Certified tax roll - Ms. Woodham said county shows 1.9 billion, council must sign the form.   About 3% over effective rate, could have gone much higher on tax rate.   Dropping tax rate 4 cents, effective income is up 3%.   Mr. Thatcher said all notices will require to state that revenue is increasing.   New (property) value doesn't go into effective rate calculation.
            [[ PLEASE NOTE: the tax rate is going down, but your tax Bill will likely be higher due to the increased appraisal values. ]]
  • Announced public hearing date for the FY 2019-2020 proposed budget on August 20, 2019.
        Ms. Woodham said required to hold one public hearing.
  • Announced public hearing dates for the FY 2019-2020 proposed tax rate on August 20, 2019 and September 3, 2019.
        Ms. Woodham said required to hold two public hearings, when setting above effective rate.
  • Approved an early starting time of 5:30 for the October 1, 2019, City Council meeting so Council Members can participate in National Night Out events.
  • directed staff to create a resolution for a review of the City of Forney Charter and appointment of a Charter Review Commission pursuant to Section 11.15, City of Forney Charter, to be on Sept. meeting.
        Mr. Thatcher said to decide if want to review the charter, in order to amend, must put on ballot for election.   Charter allows 10 members, doesn't state what makeup should be, up to council.   Would bring recommendation to council in Jan.   Mr. Thomas said it's a good idea, not reviewed since 90's, should be minimum 3 council members, maybe past mayors and council members.   He doesn't agree with taking applications - members should know how cities work, not come in with preconceived notions.   He said it wouldn't be stacking the deck or political, just providing people who know how it works.   Mr. Johnson said this is one exception where you should appoint people who know how local government work.   Mayor Penn said there are some things that need to be taken care of.   Mr. Carson said as example, budget: required to have by Aug 1, often don't get certified values until 6th.   Mr. Thomas said original charter was cut and pasted from several other cities.   Mr. Thatcher said been involved with this process at several cities, some met weekly for months.   Staff will provide an agenda item for Sep meeting.
  • Approved an Ordinance amending the FY 2018-19 Budget to transfer $60,000 from the Utility CIP Fund balance to establish project #189 for the construction of a garage facility for Public Works.
        Ms. Woodham said this is for the back lot, weather protection.
  • Approved an Ordinance amending the FY 2018-19 Budget to transfer $1,070,392 from the Utility CIP Fund balance to establish Project #185 for clay tile pipe lining.
        Ms. Woodham said this will take care of pipe.   Mr. Myers asked if this was different than before, is the quality similar.   Sailler said this has been used for years, basically put pvc inside the clay, cured in place.   Mr. Johnson said Richardson did for thousands of feet, only certain clay tile can accept it.
  • Approved the authorization to allow staff to seek bids for the maintenance of the existing clay tile sanitary sewer lines, and all related issues.
        Mr. Sailler said this is for 10,000 feet, N. of Broad from Bois d'Arc to Mustang Creek, Shands line which is difficult to access.   Includes pre-inspection, in case repairs needed.   This bid is just for doing the lining.   Mr. Johnson said this was once patented; Mr. Sailler said it has expired.   Mr. Thomas asked what a service line was: from a main to a service point, at some locations will have to install new cleanouts.
  • Approved Bid Advertisement for Alcohol Beverage Services at Special Events.
        Ms. Beasley said city wants proposals from firms with experience to get higher profile acts at Spellman.   Mr. Myers asked if limits on what they could sell.   Mr. Thatcher said RFP said allows non-alcoholic and food sales, but the only exclusive license is for alcohol.   Does not specify only beer & wine.   Mr. Carson said would depend on TABC license.   Mr. Thomas said that's what they voted in.   Mr. Thatcher said special events doesn't have restrictions like restaurants, just depends on city approving it.   Vendor would then have to obtain state permit.   Mr. Moon asked about controlling food trucks - Ms. Beasley said do, but also allow people to bring in food and drinks.   Mr. Moon verified not just anyone could show up to sell food - Ms. Beasley said they have to be approved and inspected.   Mayor Penn said unless change so people can't bring in ice chests, won't need that many vendors.   Mr. Myers said at events where selling alcohol, is illegal for people to bring in alcohol.   Mr. Thomas asked if looked at other cities - yes.   Did other cities require a minimum fee? no, depends on what vendor provides.   Mr. Thatcher said RFP's he's seen did not have a minimum.
  • City Manager's report - partner w/ master gardening, water capture class Aug 22 6:30, see rain barrel constructed, $50 fee for barrel; signups avail for trail of treats oct 26? ; thanks public works for new machine that cleans streets and sidewalk.   Mr. Johnson said a road needs to be restriped - marketplace, Sailler see who is responsible.
  • Council Comments - Mr. Thomas and all others prayers for Ms. Powers; Mr. Myers thanked ISD for convocation; Mayor Penn excited about tax decrease, and how streamlined the budget was, milkshakes w/ mayor was huge success (about 200 people), watch out for school kids.
  • Held a 63-minute executive session re:

    • PUC Docket No. 46662; SOAH Docket No. 473-17-4964.WS – Petition of the Cities of Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson Appealing the Decision by North Texas Municipal Water District Affecting Wholesale Water Rates.
    • PUC Docket No. 47814; SOAH Docket No. 476-18-1344.WS – Petition High Point Water Supply Corporation, Talty Special Utility District, and Markout Water Supply Corporation Appealing the Decision by the City of Forney Affecting Wholesale Water Rates.
    • Interlocal Agreement for Facilities Use Between the City of Forney and the Forney ISD.
    • Emergency Services District No. 6.

  • Took no action
  • Adjourned at 2047
Tuesday, 2019, August 6