Katy officials plan for 'steady growth' with proposed 2013–14 budget

City of Katy officials are planning for steady growth over the next three to five years, according to a budget report delivered to City Council Aug. 27. City Finance Director Byron Hebert, said there are simply more residents and retailers contributing to tax revenue.

The proposed $20 million budget, delivered by Hebert in a presentation to the council at the city's fiscal 2013-14 workshop, made incremental adjustments to city employee benefits as well as provisions for several construction projects.

Hebert's office proposed a 4 percent cost of living raise for city employees, as well as a 5 percent increase in medical insurance costs. City departments proposed adding new staff members, including two new inspectors/code officers, one police officer, two full-time firefighters (and additional part-time help) and a sewer department worker.

The proposed budget also accounts for construction projects this year, including the city's second fire station--estimated at $2.5 million--and about $200,000 for preliminary design work for a proposed City Hall that will ultimately cost approximately $6 million and will take two years to build.

Smaller projects include:

  • The construction of bathrooms at the dog part, estimated at $65,000.
  • Two drainage projects totaling $290,000.
  • A parking lot at the Social Services Center, estimated at $35,000 unless planners determine there isn't enough room and have to buy additional property.

Overall, officials agreed the city's finances are in good health. Katy is fortunate to have money in the bank, said Mayor Fabol Hughes and Councilman Jimmy Mendez Jr. who recently attended the Texas League of Municipalities Orientation for Newly Elected Officials in San Antonio.

"Hundreds and hundreds of cities and we were the only one with money in the bank," Mendez said. "For all of our complaining about the city, we've done an excellent job of putting money away. We have above what we need for emergency situations."

Hebert's office and the council have begun discussing the goal of stepping down property taxes incrementally over the next five years.

"With the people up here on city council we want to start cutting and taking some of the burden off people in this economy, and that's why we're moving to the position we're moving to" Mendez said.

The council generally holds a public hearing on the proposed budget before taking a vote. No date has been set for a hearing. Last year's took place in late September.