Increased spending on Kyle Police and infrastructure projects were prime topics in Kyle’s inaugural meeting for the 2018-2019 fiscal year budget.
The meeting, held March 24 at Kyle City Hall, was a preliminary look into the city’s finances before council approves its budget in the fall.
“The purpose of this meeting is not to set next year’s budget,” said Scott Sellers, city manager for the city of Kyle. “It’s to give us a six-month snapshot to discuss our priorities for the next year.”
The report also included a survey conducted by the city which displays the results of community feedback ranging from citizen satisfaction, safety and taxes.
The survey’s results found that 47 percent of citizens disagree that the city has low levels of criminal incidents, leaving residents split on safety in the city.
Kyle’s proposed budget calls for an increase of $662,065 for the city’s police department.
Although these new additions are preliminary, this new spending increase would give the department new positions.
The department is looking to add two communication specialists, a new police detective, one code compliance officer, a records compliance technician and two new officer positions authorized in 2018 but not funded.
The records compliance technician will help keep track of all our records coming into the department,” said Chief of Police Jeff Barnett. With all the new added safety protocols and requirements for video footage from our officers, the positon is to “help keep our records where it needs to be,” Barnett said.
Sellers said these new budget changes will help accommodate the overall growth trends of the city.
According to the report, property and sales taxes are projected to increase by eight to 10 percent and the city’s population is projected to be around 50,000 by 2020.
The budget also calls for new projects to be added to the 2019 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) spending.
The city is looking to budget nearly $4 million of CIP projects, ranging from improvements to the FM 1626 pump station and Windy Hill Road from Indian Paintbrush to I-35.
The current status of the 2018 CIP spending plan includes the dog park, Old Post Road renovations and a splash/skate park all of which are accounted in the general fund.
Wastewater treatment plant expansions were also budgeted and included projects that are anticipated to begin in 2018 and finish by 2022. The five developments would cost $7.6 million combined.
The city is also looking to spend around $50,000 on an engineering study of the old historic city hall, which is currently undergoing structural issues.
Kim Hilsenbeck, communications specialist for the city of Kyle, said the city will comment on the issue when the study is conducted, which should occur within the next week.
At the budget meeting, city staff found the building not to be an immediate threat of safety, but an issue that needs to be addressed as the building is currently being used for city activities.