City of Magnolia prepares fiscal year 2019-20 budget

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City officials in Magnolia began discussing the city’s fiscal year 2019-20 budget at a July 6 budget workshop, indicating increases in general fund revenue and expenditures, pay increases for staff and funds for a new $14 million wastewater treatment plant, according to proposed budget information.

The proposed FY 2019-20 budget shows $3.124 million in general fund revenue, which funds the city’s daily operations—a 5.2% increase from FY 2018-19; however, expenditures increased 6.1% during that same time, totaling $3.123 million.

The city still anticipates a surplus—a $660 surplus, budget information shows.

“It may seem low, but we’re increasing our retirement contribution, giving out raises … we’re investing in our city,” Mayor Todd Kana said during the meeting.

The city’s lone red-light camera at the intersection of FM 1774 and FM 1488 provided enough revenue to cover the cost of the camera as well as three traffic safety officers, their police vehicles and fuel, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

However, the city of Magnolia turned off its red-light camera June 1 after Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1631 into law, banning the use of photographic enforcement cameras.

City Administrator Paul Mendes said there is enough money in the red-light camera fund to cover the personnel costs for the officers for one more year.

“This budget is not affected by the doing away with red-light cameras because we still have money in the fund, but that is something we’ve got to tackle during this next year,” Kana said during the meeting.

While property tax rates could not be officially determined as the Montgomery Central Appraisal District has not released finalized valuations, Kana said rough estimates indicate an increase in valuations but no change from the current tax rate of $0.4675 per $100 valuation.

“We’ve been very conservative in our budget because it’s a lot easier to say, ‘We have more money than we thought,’ rather than, ‘We’re running short on funds,’ and having to lay people off,” Mendes said. “It’s served us well in the last nine years.”

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Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the Tomball/Magnolia reporter in September 2018. Prior to CI, Kara served as the editor-in-chief of The Wichitan—Midwestern State University's student-run campus newspaper—and interned with both the Wichita Adult Literacy Council and VeepWorks.
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