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City commission approves budget





Hays city commissioners approved a $38.3 million budget for 2013 following Thursday night's public budget hearing.

A 2.5-percent increase in property valuation will provide increased revenue for the city, although the mill levy will remain at 25 for the fourth consecutive year.

There will be no increase in solid waste fees for city residents, and commissioners will continue a pay-as-you-go budgeting system.

In addition, a 3-percent pay increase will become effective for all city employees Jan. 1.

"Reserves remain sound within the general fund," Assistant City Manager Paul Briseno told commissioners Thursday evening as he provided an overview of the budget.

Reserves of approximately 61 percent of the general operating budget are well above the national recommendation of 15 percent, he said.

"We usually keep our reserves quite high simply because we do depend highly on sales tax dollars," Briseno said.

Increased expenditures of approximately $100,000 are attributed to the employees' 3-percent pay increase and projected higher electrical and fuel costs.

The 2013 city budget shows a $2.1 million increase from 2012, with nearly half of that number coming from a capital improvement fund transfer of $1.1 million.

"The bottom line in all of this is we've held the mill levy the same," Commissioner Kent Steward said. "We'll get a little more revenue, but that additional revenue doesn't even quite match the rate of inflation.

"We will need to continue to provide the same services, but it is necessary for us to have a little more revenue so we can try to keep up with inflation."

In other business, commissioners accepted a bid from Commerce Bank for a four-year banking services agreement in the amount of $34,408.