Pearland City Council discussed potential changes to the proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget at its Aug. 17 special meeting, including adding money to the streets and sidewalks fund.
To maintain streets and sidewalks, the city needs to invest $4.6 million and is investing $1.3 million, according to budget documents. Most of the council members agreed with the idea of addressing the streets and sidewalks maintenance but was against the idea of taking money from the reserve fund to address it this year.
“Our development is young, and our problem is only going to get worse,” Council Member Luke Orlando said. “The problem with using fund balance is that this is a systemic problem, not a one-time fix.”
As the city is in the planning stages of the budget, council members are addressing items they would like to discuss before the FY 2020-21 budget is passed. Other items addressed at the Aug. 17 meeting included a 4% cost-of-living adjustment for all city employees and delaying the collection of utility billing late fees past Sept. 30.
Some council members were in favor of starting late fee collection on utility billing by Sept. 30, especially as the amount of revenue the city has yet to collect has gone up from $3.2 million to $5.1 million, according to the agenda packet for the meeting. Some council members, including Tony Carbone and Gary Moore, wanted to hear an update from a consultant on how the 32/30 utility billing system, approved earlier this year, is running before deciding to reinstate late fees Sept. 30.
“I was hoping to get an update on 32/30 for the citizens in conjunction with this. I get the financial impact, but this the financial impact of the screw up that happened inside utility billing,” Carbone said. “As much as we need the funding, we are in no position to start imposing late fees when we can’t even get bills right.”
The council also discussed giving all city employees a 4% raise rather than the proposed 2% raise. However, most of council spoke against this measure.
“There are a lot of people losing their jobs right now and aren’t going to be able to pay for an increase,” Council Member David Little said.
Council also voted to give preliminary approval to the proposed maximum tax rate of $0.72 per $100, with the ordinance read at the Sept. 14 and 28 meetings. The council also voted to hold a public hearing on the budget on Aug. 31, with ordinance readings on Sept. 14 and 28.
Pearland City Council addresses utility billing, staff pay, street maintenance in budget discussions
Pearland City Council held a special meeting to discuss the city's proposed fiscal year 2020-21 budget. (Haley Morrison/Community Impact Newspaper)