The San Marcos City Council held a public hearing Tuesday night regarding the budget for the 2013 fiscal year.
The approximately $160.7 million proposed budget is larger than the budget from fiscal year 2012 because of property tax increases. The city budget for fiscal year 2012 was approximately $146 million.
Finance Director Steve Parker said he started assessing the proposed budget in January of this year. He said this particular budget has been the most reviewed one since his term as director.
Parker said the city has “trended very well” in terms of its budget, primarily due to the increase in property values and sales taxes. He said there are some instances where the city did spend money from the reserves. Parker said for every dollar the city spends, he wants to have 25 cents in the bank.
The 2012-2013 fiscal year budget is made up of separate entities, including the $46.9 million general fund, the $30.5 million water and utility fund and the $55.5 million electric fund.
Parker said $100,000 was also added to the budget to make San Marcos “more beautiful than it already is.”
Lisa Spencer, Scheib Center board president, spoke during the public hearing and asked the council to help fund the center. The Scheib Mental Health Center, located on Bishop Street, is a mental health facility. Spencer said residents have made generous donations to the center, but it still needs help from the city.
and Councilman Wayne Becak, Place 4, both agreed they would not like the Scheib Center funding to come from money set aside for street construction and maintenance.
The council ultimately decided to use $50,000 of the proposed budget from different entities to fund the Scheib Center.
Parker said he recommends increasing park maintenance staff to help with keeping city parks clean. The budget also has room for additional police officers and a librarian assistant.
During the public hearing, Diann McCabe, honors college senior lecturer and San Marcos Arts Commission member, asked city council to change the current budget’s funding for the arts.
The second of two public hearings regarding a proposed tax increase was also held during Tuesday’s meeting.
Parker said San Marcos property values increased by 4.8 percent, totaling $130.6 million. He said 60 percent of the increase was from new property and the other 40 percent was from existing properties. The staff presentation showed no increase from last year’s to this year’s tax rate.
The first reading of the tax rate ordinance will take place Sept. 14 during the council’s packet meeting. The final reading will be Sept. 18.