Rosenberg Adopts Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 Budget

Rosenberg City Council adopted the City’s FY 2013 Budget at their September 4, City Council Meeting, including the tax year 2012 property tax rate of $0.51 per $100 valuation.

The FY 2013 Budget, which makes appropriations for the City of Rosenberg from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013, serves as a policy document for the City establishing community priorities, goals, and programs for the upcoming fiscal year. The FY 2013 Budget contains appropriations necessary to achieve specific service levels, functions and activities essential to the accomplishment of the City’s stated mission: To provide citizens with an enhanced quality of life through public service that ensures the continuance of our small town values while maintaining standards of accountability and open-mindedness that are ethically and consistently applied.

The proposed FY 2013 budget maintains compliance with the City’s reserve requirements while providing for the needs of Rosenberg’s citizens and employees. It levies a property tax of $0.51 per $100 valuation. The FY 2013 Budget continues the City’s one percent (1%) Homestead Exemption previously adopted by City Council.

Because City Council maintained a flat tax rate in response to the overall economy from 2009 to 2011, Rosenberg currently faces a challenge to provide a sufficient number of police officers to catch up with increasing calls for service. Rosenberg Police Department calls for service per officer have increased nearly 32% from 2009 (1,406 calls per officer) to 2011 (1,851 calls per officer). This increase occurred over the same time period that the City’s tax rate remained steady at $0.50. The tax increase included in the FY 2013 Budget will allow the City to hire three additional officers to assist in handling the increase in service calls and maintaining the current quality of services provided to Rosenberg residents and businesses.

According to Fort Bend Central Appraisal District data, the average taxable value of a residence homestead in the City of Rosenberg is currently $97,906. The $0.01 increase will cost home owners, based on an assessed home value of $100,000, an additional $10 per year, and will generate approximately $155,000 in general fund revenue for the City of Rosenberg. The rate of $0.51 for tax year 2012 represents a 2.19% increase from tax year 2011, but an 8% decrease from tax year 2006.

The FY 2013 Budget provides for the provision of basic public services and debt service obligations for capital improvements. Its primary revenue sources are local sales tax, City property taxes, and user fees (e.g. garbage, water and wastewater). Overall, the FY 2013 operating budget is balanced and provides for approximately $50.45 million in overall expenditures, including $22.4 million in general fund expenditures, $10.9 million in water/wastewater fund expenditures, $7.6 million in special revenue fund expenditures, and $6.6 million in debt service fund expenditures.

The FY 2013 budget also includes:

• Reallocation of ½ cent ($0.005) from the City’s Debt Service tax rate to the Operations & Maintenance (O&M) tax rate;

• Increase ad valorem tax rate from $0.50 to $0.51/$100 valuation;

• Two additional patrol officers and a detective for the Rosenberg Police Department;

• Nine additional firefighters to operate the new Fire Station Number 3;

• Funding to cover Police Station and Parks and Recreation facility repairs; and

• Supplemental requests including street overlay, police equipment, fire and animal control vehicles, a community notification system, fleet maintenance equipment, and water/wastewater equipment.

Additionally, the FY 2013 Budget maintains the City’s commitment to continue its aggressive capital improvements program with “roll-over” funding included for: a new animal shelter; Bamore Road phase three; downtown building renovation; Dry Creek drainage; Fire Station Number Three; north side sanitary sewer improvements phase VII; Rosenberg Development Corporation park improvements; Seabourne Creek Drainage phase three; street overlay/reconstruction program; Terry High School reuse project; Water Plant Number Five expansion; and a portable generator for Water/Wastewater.

The FY 2013 Water/Wastewater Fund is self-supporting, and the City has been able to reduce the debt service portion of the property tax rate due to retirement of higher interest debt service obligations. Although the Water/Wastewater Fund has improved significantly, it continues to be underfunded to meet future surface water conversion requirements. The City will need to continue to adjust rates to cover costs associated with the surface water conversion project and continued capital improvements required to meet the 2016 groundwater reduction deadline.

The biggest challenge the City continues to face is meeting the increasing service needs of an expanding Rosenberg community. While the City’s revenues are beginning to increase, the challenge remains for City Council and staff to maximize the use of available financial resources. Although the budget primarily addresses the upcoming fiscal year, the City’s financial condition for future years must be considered, including important issues that will impact future budgets such as: improvements to the City’s aging infrastructure, expansion of infrastructure to address growth, maintenance of strong funding reserves, increasing the City’s debt capacity for future financing, providing for a long-term, sustainable employee base; addressing municipal facility upgrades, and investing in technology to improve service and enhance personnel.

One thing that helps meet these challenges is continued economic development and diversification of our local economy which helps relieve some of the tax burden on residents by adding value to the City’s tax rolls, and by generating sales tax. The City’s financial outlook is improving – as of June 30, 2012, the City’s sales tax revenues are up nine percent (9%) from receipts through the same period in FY 2012, and the tax base reflects new development.

For more information on the City’s budget, please visit www.ci.rosenberg.tx.us. A copy of the proposed budget is available for review on the City’s website (click here) by selecting “Departments,” “Finance,” and “Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Budget Schedule,” or in the City Secretary’s office by calling (832) 595-3340.

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