By Crystal Havner
Special to the Sun-Gazette
FARMERSVILLE – Heading into the 2017-2018 fiscal year the City of Farmersville knows they will be facing a deficit. And last week the Council learned they came in nearly a quarter of a million dollars short from last year’s budget. After the numbers were in, finance director Steve Huntley presented the City’s financial status after the end of the fiscal year. The City had $3,289,259 in revenue and had expenditures of $3,520,474 for a deficit of $231,215.
Some noteworthy expenditure for the City were: The City Council spent 102% of their budget even after the budget was raised. The total expense for travel and other fees was $15,756. Administrative overhead was about 43% over budget almost entirely because of professional and contractual expenses. Legal fees with the city attorney accounted for 72% of the $57,000 overage. City properties were 21% over budget due to professional expenses and operating supplies. The Fire Department was over budget by 17%. This was mainly due to a payout for a retiring employee and delayed payment from the SAFER grant.
Membership and Legislation was 48% under budget, spending only $12,934 of $27,000 available. The City spent only $5,700 of the allotted $10,000 for youth league sports and other City sponsorships. The Police Department was 6% under budget mainly because of open positions. Public Works came in 10% under budget and saved nearly $13,000.
Huntley said in the report, “This means that although deficit spending is still a problem, the City is budgeting well and keeping within proper expectations despite normal fluctuations in cash flows and expense estimates.”
Long term council member and former mayor, Leonel Benavides is worried what will happen to the looks of the City if the buildings are not regulated.
“I am on my way out,” he said. “You guys are going to be here and have to deal with the way it looks. Our responsibility is to look beyond and make sure it looks good. We have to have pride in our community.”
The Council decided to send the matter back to the Planning Commission to set standards for metal buildings and their placement.
City manager John Jansons reported that the water meter replacement project is over budget, but the extra funds are available in the Water Development Fund.
Matt Hamilton, an engineer with QK and one of the contact engineers on the project said the extra costs are due to service connections being deeper in the ground than expected. The connections must be dug up and raised so that a signal can be sent out. The West Valley crew doing the work has said they are finding a lot of galvanized pipe that has to be replaced.
“These are legit cost,” said Hamilton. “These are unforeseen conditions not price gouging.”