Completing the remaining 2014 bond projects was one of the primary budget items Buda city leaders focused on during the city’s initial budget meeting earlier this month.
Overall, city leaders were encouraged by the outcome of the special budget meeting held at U.S. Foods, with Buda Mayor Todd Ruge saying he was “very happy” with the city’s current position.
The special meeting included a presentation regarding the expenses the city incurred this fiscal year compared to last fiscal year as well as the progress of the 2014 Bond projects.
Ruge said the estimates for bond projects are “like a moving target,” meaning that the cost of certain things has increased since 2014.
“The budget for certain projects needs to be shaved down more at this point, but the municipal building and the police and public safety building are on time and on budget,” Ruge said.
Council members shared their vision and goals for Buda’s new fiscal year, with city staff concentrating on the 2014 Bond projects, instead of adding additional projects to the budget.
Council member David Nuckles suggested that the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Main Street Advisory Board and the Chamber of Commerce should be working together to work towards the future growth of Buda.
“We’re expected to be the next big metropolis in the next 10 years between Austin and San Antonio,” Nuckles said regarding the need for more diverse businesses in Buda.
Council member George Haehn urged city staff to shave down the information technology (IT) budget for the new municipal building, suggesting instead to use the current technology available to the city in the new buildings.
“We should look at making do with what we have until we can recover some of the cost associated with technical upgrades,” Haehn said.
Council member Lee Urbanovsky shared his desire for the completion of the bond projects, as well as the desire to curb the budget for the new municipal buildings to avoid overwhelming residents with a high tax rate.
“We need to try and hold the line on taxes,” Urbanovsky said, anticipating a backlash from residents if taxes go up significantly.
Council member Eileen Altmiller shared her concerns over the availability of water, the pressing need for the 2014 drainage bond projects, and her concerns over the future of transportation in Buda.
“I’m not sure we can build our way out of this traffic,” Altmiller said.
Ruge gave his recommendations to city staff including concentrating on completion of the bond projects, retaining good employees and raising salaries for city staff this fiscal year.
“We are growing fast and I think we need to keep up our retention rate with good employees,” Ruge said.
Council member Wiley Hopkins, who was not present at the meeting, recommended in a statement read by City Manager Kenneth Williams that the Police Department should get whatever it needs including necessary vehicle upgrades.
Hopkins was also concerned about the restrooms at the Stagecoach Park and asked that the road expansion at Cabela’s and Goforth roads be expedited.
Ruge said he was encouraged by council members’ restraint in requesting new projects, choosing instead to focus on completion of the bond.
“I’m very pleased with council members that there weren’t any additional requests,” Ruge said. “I think it went well.”
2014 Buda Bond Projects
The library and city hall are expected to be completed by April 2018.
Public Safety Facility
The public safety building is expected to be completed by October 2017.
Props 3 and 4, Prop 5
Street improvements, drainage projects, trails and parks
These improvements include the following streets: Cabela’s Drive, Railroad Street, Ash Street, San Antonio Street, Main Street and Old Goforth Road