Cove City Council to hold workshop on department budgets

COPPERAS COVE — The Copperas Cove City Council will dig deeper into the expenses tied to its next fiscal budget when it meets Tuesday.

The council will hold a budget workshop at 5 p.m. at the Technology Center.

The workshop will be focused on the proposed budget for the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, and on departmental budgets covered by the General Fund such as Public Safety, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, and Development Services.

Budgets for departments covered by the Water and Sewer, Solid Waste, Golf Course, and Drainage funds will also be discussed.

The EDC is submitting what it calls a “conservative and lean” budget to the council. Total administrative expenditures are projected at nearly $14,000 less than last year. While personnel expenses would increase by more than $29,000, maintenance costs would drop by nearly $22,000.

The total EDC budget of nearly $3.4 million would maintain $2 million in a fund for proposed land purchases that could be swapped with Fort Hood in exchange for land desired for economic development.

EDC Executive Director Jonas Titas told the City Council last Tuesday that there has been little success securing property for the proposed swap, mostly because of a seeming lack of interest from property owners. Titas hopes to work with Fort Hood to identify additional properties that might be of interest to try to move the program forward.

The presentation for department budgets shows an across the board increase in expenses in most areas covered by the General Fund.

Salaries and benefits in almost every department would increase as a 1% cost of living increase is implemented for all eligible employees. Salaries and benefits for the police department would rise 21% from last year as a 2.5% step increase is implemented in the department, in addition to the cost of living increase.

Currently, the General Fund budget has expenditures of $18.88 million, versus project revenue of $17.66 million. The General Fund balance would be used to cover that gap, unless the City Council moves either to cut spending or raise additional revenue through fees or higher property taxes.

The council won’t discuss the city’s fee schedule until a workshop on July 7. The first discussion on the city’s property tax rate will be on July 21.

A vote on the budget and the property tax rate is scheduled for Aug. 4.

The workshop meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel. If the public wishes to participate, they can phone in to the meeting by calling 888-475-4499 and using meeting ID 986 602 9818.

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