City Council to hold several Public Hearings
On Sep. 03, Forney Council will hold 2nd public hearing on the proposed lower tax rate, hearings for limited annexation and modifying the Gateway TIF/TIRZ.
During the Aug. 06, 2019 certified tax roll item, Ms. Woodham briefed the council on the proposed budget which plans for a 13.87% revenue increase, 7.45% increase in expenses; adds an Asst. Police Chief, part-time prosecutor, removes Asst. City Manager. The HOT funds should be $160k, only used for city events; total events budget: $432k, including new Brews on Bois d'Arc and NYE Ball Drop, expanded Independence Day, removed BBQ cook-off. Capital projects: 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.
During the Aug. 20, 2019 budget public hearing Ms. Woodham briefed the council with updates to proposed 2020 budget stating property taxes will increase 6.49% over last year; $148k added to Capital purchases, $20k to Special Events; reduced sewer rate increase from 16% to 10%. During this hearing, five people associated with Sharing the Love Foundation spoke about what problems the loss of HOT funds will cause to their organization, and the Turkey Trax event. Councilman Johnson stated he was not happy with what's going on with the HOT funds. Councilman Thomas said the city will provide police and fire services for events, and help with $1-1.5k sponsorships but likely not be able to provide $10k requested.
On May 19, the Forney EDC held the mandatory HOT funds training for non-profit groups, and at their July 11 meeting approved requests from 5 non-profits totaling $60k. Past HOT funds have been used by the Forney Arts Council, Lion's Club, Historic Preservation League, Garden Club and Sharing the Love Foundation for the Farmer's Market, Wine Walk, Lion's Stampede 5k, Museum Promotion, Subcourthouse Xeric Garden, Turkey Trax Auto Show, two downtown Murals, the electronic sign at Community Park, preservation of paintings and many advertising/promotional projects.
The public will have another opportunity to speak about the proposed budget during the Sept. 03, 2019 hearing.
Two other public hearings: the limited annexation of property solely for the purpose of collecting sales tax; and modifying the Gateway TIF/TIRZ agreement by adding more property, extending the duration by 3 years, reducing the 12% interest rate to 6%, improvements to Reeder Road.