LION’S ROAR – AUGUST-SEPTEMBER, 2018
By: Mayor Chris Riley
Dear Leon Valleyites:
Hope everyone is having a great summer! As I write this article on July 2nd, the 4th of July activities and the discussion on the FY 2019 Budget process have not yet occurred. This Lions Roar will not reach your home until mid-August for the August-September edition. The budget process is the most important duty of your city council - to tax and spend wisely.
Mark your calendar for important budget dates:
- August 7th – 2nd Budget workshop at 5:30 p.m.
- August 21st at 5:30 p.m. – City Council meets as the Crime Control and Prevention Board to administer the 1/8th sales tax funds for police services.
- August 21st at 6:00 p.m.- Public hearing on Budget
- September 4th and 11th at 6 pm – 1st and 2nd tax rate public hearings.
- September 18th at 6pm - final vote on budget and tax rate.
Total revenues for the current fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2017 – Sept. 30, 2018) in the General Fund are estimated at $10.236 million. We get this money from Ad Valorem taxes 39%; Sales Tax 26%; and Franchise Taxes, licenses, permits, fees, fines, grants and miscellaneous, 35%. Total expenditures, including for capital improvements, were budgeted at $11.284 million, with money coming out of our general fund reserve to fund capital projects.
Leon Valley’s Impound Lot was initiated on October 1, 2017 and has generated revenue through May 31, 2018 of $173,083 from fees and auction sales of unredeemed vehicles. Expenditures to operate the Impound lot through May 31, 2018 total $110,748 with a current surplus of $76,827.
The Red Light Cameras (RLC) were started in mid-March, 2018 with 10 cameras turned on. Revenues from March, 2018 through May 31, 2018 totalled $533,102. This is a separate accounting within the General Fund. One- half of RLC revenues goes directly to the State of Texas. Expenditures directly related to running the RLC program (Tier One) are about 2/3 of the total. The remainder goes into Tier Two expenditures, which must by law be used to pay for traffic safety programs in Leon Valley. With this additional revenue, the police department has hired two additional traffic officers in our neighborhoods. The Leon Valley police responded to 1693 accidents in Leon Valley in the 18 months prior to the installation of the cameras. As required by state law, another report will be filed six months after the installation of the cameras to determine if the number of accidents has decreased. We’ll keep you posted.
There are additional sales tax revenues: Economic/Community Development (1/8th cent sales tax), as of May 31st , 2018, generated revenues of $147,884 and expenditures to date of $68,308. The Street Maintenance fund (1/4th cent sales tax) has around $1 million that will be used for street repair (currently going out for bids). The Crime Control sales tax (1/8 cent) further supports our police budget, around $250,000 annually.
The Police Forfeiture fund represents Leon Valley’s share of money derived from the sale of forfeited assets seized by regional law enforcement agencies. This amount varies from year to year, and can only fund certain expenditures related to the police department.
The Enterprise Fund is revenue from our water and sewer company and is separate from the General Fund. About 2/3rd of Leon Valley citizens receive their water and sewer from Leon Valley; the other 1/3 receive their water and sewer from SAWS. Revenues from water, sewer and stormwater fees are estimated at $4.34 million dollars this year, with expenditures of $4.574 million for personnel costs, supplies, contractual services and capital.
The Leon Valley budget should reflect our city’s needs and desires. Over the last 4 years the council has increased salaries for our dedicated staff to “ market”, meaning the average salary for a specific position in the region. This is helping us hire and retain qualified people. Citizens have repeatedly said they want to maintain our excellent police, fire and EMS service, as well as our public works, library and park system. For more information on the city’s finances, go to: http://www.leonvalleytexas.gov/governent/finance/financial transparency.php. Please try to attend these budget workshops/meetings, or go online for live streaming. You can always email your questions and they will be answered.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have served for years on one or more committees for the City of Leon Valley! You are awesome and we appreciate your service to our community. Following the recent elections, many committees have openings due to members stepping down. There are openings on the Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Park Commission, Earthwise Living, Tree Advisory, Stormwater, Beautification and a new committee looking at revising our Sign Ordinance. Please consider giving back to your community an hour or two per month on a committee of your liking. Please download the short volunteer form from www.leonvalleytexas.gov or call the city secretary at (210) 684-1391.
Currently, the city mails the Lions Roar newsletter to every citizen and business every other month, as well as mailing postcards with important information (4th of July, Fall Clean Up). Other communication tools are: ENEWS – a weekly online email summary of important meetings for the upcoming week, plus community events and useful information (Stage 2 watering). You can register for ENEWS through the city’s website: www.leonvalleytexas.gov. The City and its Police and Fire departments have a Facebook , Twitter and SnapChat pages. On a regular basis, the city will post current events on Next Door. Lastly, the city is now streaming all city council meetings LIVE! Go to www.leonvalleytexas.gov , Mayor & Council , then to Agendas and the date of the council meeting. Any time during the council meeting you can email a question or comment to the city secretary at email@example.com and participate from the comfort of your home. Other ideas? Please do not hesitate to call or email me.
The deadline to register to vote in the important November 6, 2018 election for state and federal races is October 7, 2018. Every vote counts!
My hope is that the 4th of July activities in Leon Valley were fantastic, safe and fun! And lastly, that the Evers Road Bridge will have opened by the time you read this!