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TEXARKANA, Texas — No one spoke Monday during a public hearing on the city's proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget, and the City Council could approve the plan with a vote slated for Sept. 9.

During a regular Council meeting, the hearing opened and closed without anyone coming forward to comment, leaving two final steps before next month's vote. The Council will hold a budget workshop at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 26, and a second public hearing on the proposed tax rate — which will not change — will take place at 12:15 p.m. Sept. 4. Both meetings will be at City Hall.

The city's property tax rate will remain at $0.70 per $100 valuation. The city's overall property valuation is expected to increase by more than $39 million, resulting in an increase of property tax revenue of more than $273,000. The budget projects an increase in sales tax revenue of 2%, or more than $335,000, compared with FY 2019.

The budget accounts for police and firefighter seniority pay as required by law, and the Police Department will get a 3% pay increase totaling $175,000. The budget sets aside $125,000 for non-civil service compensation increases and $207,000 for Texarkana Water Utilities employee raises.

Staff estimates that at the end of FY 2020, the general fund balance will be enough for 92 days of expenditures. By city ordinance, the minimum reserve is 60 days of expenditures.

In other business, the Council passed resolutions supporting applications for Texas Department of Transportation grants that would fund sidewalk construction on College Drive, Kennedy Lane and Robison Road. City staff will submit the applications by the end of the week but do not expect to learn the results until late this year at the earliest.

The Council also passed a resolution supporting an extended line of credit for the Texarkana Airport Authority, which needs funding to pay advances on projects that later will be reimbursed through state and federal grants, including building a new taxiway and terminal building. The Texarkana, Arkansas, Board of Directors approved the airport plan during its Aug. 5 meeting.

The Council's next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26.

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