In their third meeting, the Coupland City Council dealt with taxation issues as well as other matters related to Coupland’s new status as an incorporated city. Here are the highlights:
Susan Garry was out of town on family business.
There were some minor corrections to the minutes of the previous meeting.
An agreement with Oncor regarding franchise fee revenue was tabled because Oncor is still working to clearly identify which meters are in the city limits.
Attorney Barbara Bulware-Wells was appointed to assist the City of Coupland with legal matters on an as needed basis. Her rate is $175 per hour.
Barbara Piper summarized the results of the committee working to make initial projections of revenue and expenses. For the fiscal year beginning on October 1, the committee estimates that total revenue, assuming certain tax rates, will be $39,574 and total expenses will be $36,600. Most revenue will come from property taxes and the two largest anticipated line item expenses are expected to be road maintenance and legal expenses. Ms. Piper said that the estimates were based on all available information and upon a review of the budget of Wier, a city of similar size in Williamson County. She warned the council that actual revenue and expenses are likely to be different but that this was the best estimate they could make at this time. An ordinance to set the ad valorem tax rate at 25 cents per $100 of assessed valuation was passed unanimously. Based on information from Williamson County, the assessed value of the 260 properties in the city limits is $13,665,863. The yes votes were not very enthusiastic but everyone agreed it was the prudent thing to do, especially considering that the city has no reserves to fall back on at this time.
In a lighthearted moment, Mayor Piper said, ““I’m kind of disappointed in the liquor tax amount. I think we all need to do our part to help raise that up a little bit.” Karen Marosko added, “We might need to send out letters requesting volunteers for people to mow in front of their houses like most of us do. We need volunteers in more ways than one.”
The council also passed a resolution to contract with the county for tax collection services. The county will also handle complaint calls and questions on city taxes.
In another tax-related action, the council decided to proceed with paperwork to put a 1% general sales tax, along with a 1/4% sales tax for road maintenance, on the November election ballot.
Mayor Piper summarized actions he has taken to get information from the Public Utilities Commission regarding what companies are subject to franchise fees within the city limits.
The Mayor also reported on a meeting with Commissioner Morrison regarding road maintenance. The county might do the maintenance and charge the city or they might come out and fix all existing roads and then turn them over to the city, which would then have to make its own arrangements. Barbara Piper reported that the county might take back County Road 458. She told Commissioner Morrison that a precedent had been set when the county took over the maintenance of County Road 120, which is in the City of Wier. The Mayor said he is waiting to hear back from county on this matter.
Regarding the final agenda item regarding franchise fees, which had come up in previous agenda items as a matter of course, there was some discussion but all agreed that more research is needed because of the complexities involved.
The next meeting of the city council was set for August 8 at the Coupland Fire Station.