Budget talks: Richardson city staff discuss how to allocate money in fiscal year 2019-20

Richardson will have more money to support its budget in the upcoming fiscal year. But a new strategy for funding equipment replacement means some areas will see less cash flow than usual.

Property taxes are expected to bring in an additional $8.2 million in fiscal year 2019-20, which represents a 7.7% increase year over year. Roughly $1.2 million was generated through new property added to the city's tax roll, according to an Aug. 13 budget presentation made by City Manager Dan Johnson.

The city is proposing to maintain its current tax rate of $0.65216 per $100 home valuation.

Revenue in FY 2019-20 will total $304.8 million, a 6.3% increase year over year. The city's expenditures are also projected to increase to $298.4 million, a 4.1% annual change.

The majority of the city's operating expenses will go toward personnel-related costs. Nearly 70% of the city's operating budget, or $98.5 million, will pay for compensation for new and existing employees.

An allocation of $2.9 million will be transferred to the city's equipment replacement fund to help pay for items such as fleet vehicles; fire department and information technology equipment; heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and other short-term assets.

Last year, Richardson began rolling out a new plan to change how it funds equipment replacement. The original plan was to shift $5.1 million of debt into the operating fund over a four-year period, but the recently-passed Senate Bill 2 will cap those transfers, starting with the FY 2020-21 budget.

To compensate partially for this loss, some money typically reserved for parks maintenance and economic development will now be transferred to the equipment replacement fund.

That leaves $412,580 for 13 parks maintenance projects, Johnson said. This is less than the $620,730 requested by the parks department at the City Council's July 9 meeting.

This year's budget increases funding for streets and alleys by roughly 7% to a total of $6.2 million. That fund will be supported by a combination of operating funds and property taxes.

The only fee increase Richardson residents will see this year is a 7.5% increase in water and sewer service charges, Johnson said. He added that the average residential bill should increase by $7.90 per month.

WHAT'S NEXT?


Citizens will have two opportunities to comment on the proposed budget and tax rate in the coming weeks.

Public hearings on the tax rate will be held at the Aug. 19 and 26 council meetings. Feedback on the proposed budget will also be welcomed at the Aug. 26 meeting.

Council is expected to vote on the budget Sept. 9.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


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