Welcome to the Crockett City Council Meeting, where important community matters are discussed and decisions are made. In this meeting on August 7, 2023, various issues were brought up for discussion. In this article, we will focus on two key topics: the Community Development Block Grant and the Fiscal Year 2024 budget update. These topics are crucial for the growth and development of Crockett County, Texas.
Community Development Block Grant
The meeting began with a presentation on the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), specifically the cdv210080 Road Reconstruction project. This grant was applied for a few years ago and has been awarded to Crockett County. The project aims to reconstruct Martin Luther King (MLK) Road, an important roadway in the county.
The grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and TDA (Texas Department of Agriculture). It focuses on areas of the city with low to moderate income (LMI) that require infrastructural improvements. MLK Road was chosen as it passes by the FEMA storm shelter, making it a high-priority area for reconstruction.
To comply with the conditions of the grant, the city must follow Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. This ensures that economic opportunities generated by the CDBG funds are directed towards low and very low-income persons. The city aims to hire local contractors and workers from the impacted area, promoting local employment and economic growth.
The presentation emphasized the requirements for a business to qualify as a Section 3 business. This includes being owned by low-income persons, Section 8 assisted housing residents, or having at least 75% of all labor and hours performed by Section 3 workers. The presentation also provided information on how businesses can register as Section 3 businesses and become eligible for contract opportunities.
The road reconstruction project will provide contract opportunities for grant administration, engineering, and prime contractors, and subcontractors for other work. It was also mentioned that individuals can qualify as Section 3 workers if their annual income falls below the county threshold or if they are current or recent participants in the Youth Build program. The presentation included links to resources for registering as a Section 3 business and becoming a Youth Build participant.
Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Update
Next, the council discussed the updates on the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The certified values from the Crockett County Appraisal District were received and were in line with the estimated numbers used for the budget. This means that no significant changes needed to be made to the budget.
However, there were some adjustments made to account for various factors. One of the key changes was regarding health insurance. The city has been experiencing significant increases in health insurance costs, which affected the previous year’s budget. To mitigate these costs, the city reached out to insurance brokers and explored alternative options to provide better coverage at a lower cost to taxpayers.
Other changes in the budget were related to fuel costs, operations, and equipment maintenance and repair. Some of these numbers were not adequately reflected in the previous budget, so adjustments were made to ensure the budget aligns with the actual expenses.
It was mentioned that there would be no cost-of-living increases or raises this year to manage the budget effectively. However, the budget will be able to absorb water rate increases and garbage rate increases without further burdening the residents. The council also discussed the possibility of going with the same tax rate as the previous year, but this would result in a loss of revenue and might require passing on the garbage rate increases to the public.
The council expressed their concerns about the water rate increase and the contract with the water providers. Efforts were made to reach out to the providers and request their books, but there was no response. Despite this, the council agreed that the budget should address the discrepancies and focus on balancing the budget for the time being.
Proposed Tax Rate
The meeting also included a discussion on the proposed tax rate for the upcoming fiscal year. The current tax rate is 0.6813, but there are ongoing conversations with the appraisal district to clarify the debt rate change. After considering various factors, including the voter approval rate, the proposed tax rate was determined to be 0.6936.
This proposed rate would bring in an additional $95,000 in revenue compared to the previous year. It takes into account garbage rate increases, water rate increases, health insurance costs, and fuel expenses. The council acknowledged the challenges and adjustments made to balance the budget and expressed hope for cost savings in the future.
In this Crockett City Council meeting, important matters related to the Community Development Block Grant and the Fiscal Year 2024 budget were discussed. The CDBG funding will be used for road reconstruction in the MLK Corridor, benefiting the community and promoting economic opportunities for low and very low-income individuals. The budget updates focused on managing costs and ensuring a balanced budget while addressing concerns about the water rate increase and contract agreements.
The council’s decisions and efforts demonstrate their commitment to the development and welfare of Crockett County. With a strategic and transparent approach, the community can continue to thrive and meet the needs of its residents.