Streets, sewers top Kyle budget

Street maintenance, as well as sewer and stormwater drainage improvements, topped the list of priorities from Kyle residents as part of a survey disclosed during the first of seven budget workshops Saturday.   

The meeting, held at Kyle City Hall, gave Kyle city officials a chance to discuss budget priorities for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which could include the addition of 23.5 new positions, including 11.5 full time equivalent police officers.

The new police positions are projected to cost $717,000 of a proposed $1.28 million line item for the police department.

“Every budget over the last three or four years, has been very different in terms of not just the challenges but the opportunities we have,” Mayor Todd Webster said.

Officials considered the results of the city’s household survey, taking into account residents’ input.

According the survey, respondents believe routine street maintenance and repairs, water and sewer infrastructure improvements and storm water drainage system improvements should be top priorities for the city’s budget spending. However, only 374 people participated in the survey.

Infrastructure improvement is “capital heavy” priorities, City Manager Scott Sellers said.

According to the survey, residents are highly satisfied with the services provided by the public library, the municipal court, sewer services and maintenance of parks.

City officials also considered the city’s rapid growth in the budget.

Sellers said officials estimate the city’s current population is nearly 41,000; by 2021, the city’s population is estimated to  be approximately 45,000.

There will be no increase in fees and charges, except for Texas Disposal Systems’ solid waste services, Sellers said.

Expanding the wastewater system is the number one funding priority, along with maintaining services, Sellers said.

There are multiple sewer projects planned, including the Southside sewer line, which includes a “massive” lift station, Sellers said.

While sewer projects are paid off through impact fees, the city must front the initial cost.

From a funding perspective, the city has to build out the wastewater system this next year, Sellers said.

Development is simultaneously occurring in the north, south, east and west side of the city, all requiring wastewater lines, Sellers said.

While developers will build wastewater lines to connect to the city’s wastewater system, the city must expand wastewater lines to reach developing areas.

Additionally, the wastewater system must be able to handle additional capacity as the city rapidly grows.

Kyle is currently planning its expansion of its wastewater treatment plant, which would increase capacity from 3 million gallons per day (MGD) to 4.5 MGD. The expansion is expected to cost $17 million, with $2 million for engineering and design.

According to city officials, four developments, including the Anthem development near Mountain City, have pledged a combined $8 million that is anticipated over the next three years to assist with the cost.

“That’s the big issue that we are facing with our wastewater system,” Sellers said.

Officials reviewed estimates of revenue and budget needs, predicting an increase in revenue from the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

Sellers’ budget priorities include wastewater CIPs, police dash and body camera system, new full-time positions for the municipal court, engineering services, and GIS, and replacement of the city’s financial and human resources system.

Kyle’s survey by the numbers

49.6% – Respondents who said the city provides the right amount of services for the amount residents pay in city taxes. Kyle’s current tax rate is 57 cents per $100 valuation.
46% – Respondents who said the city provides too few services compared to the amount residents pay in taxes.
Approximately 50% – Respondents who said the city’s property tax is the right amount
25% – Respondents who said the city’s property tax is too much
25% – Respondents who said the tax rate wasn’t enough

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