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TEXARKANA, Texas — During a regular meeting Monday, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, including a reduced property tax rate.

The rate will be lowered 5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, from 70 cents to 65, the first reduction since 2001. That will result in a tax reduction of $50 for a $100,000 home, Chief Financial Officer Kristin Peeples said.

"We've got a very good budget to present before our citizens for the upcoming fiscal year," Mayor Bob Bruggeman said.

General fund revenues are projected to be $37.93 million, an increase of $3.33 million over last year, according to a summary. General fund expenditures are expected to be $37.92 million, up $3.4 million.

In all, the budget plans for about $109 million in total revenue and $118.2 million in total expenditures, leaving a fund balance of $24.3 million at the end of the fiscal year, Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2022.

All departments are budgeted to maintain current levels of service.

Some highlights of the budget include increasing street maintenance funding from $300,000 to $750,000. Another $300,000 set aside for work to be done by the city itself, rather than by contractors, would bring the total streets budget to $1.05 million.

Police officers would get step increases in pay ranging from 4.3% to 4.6%, depending on rank, totaling $496,000. Firefighters would also receive pay increases according to a plan agreed upon during collective bargaining. Firefighter raises will total $1.2 million through Fiscal Year 2023.

City funding for demolitions of condemned buildings would double to $150,000. The budget also includes a spending $250,000 to develop a small business incubator and $125,000 on downtown enhancement.

In other business, the Council approved rezoning and a special use permit to allow a manufactured home at 2301 W. 12th St. Owners of adjacent properties objected to the measures, saying a mobile home on the site would lower their property values and inhibit future development in the neighborhood.

During his regular report to the Council, Interim City Manager David Orr said work on the downtown courthouse square beautification project is "substantially complete" and the streets in the vicinity should fully reopen to traffic this week.

The Council's next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 27.

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