Council's Action Delays Bell St. Construction, Keeps Tax Rate the same while Appraisals Rise
UPDATED 9/05/2017 7:00 p.m.
Lost in the bombshell about not renewing the lease for the rail road museum, the city council Tuesday quietly approved the first reading of a budget and tax rate for fiscal year 2017-2018. Council members were adamant about keeping the tax rate the same as the current fiscal year, .0776 cents per $100 in property value. The vote on the first reading was unanimous. By keeping the tax rate the same, though, because of an increase in property appraisals and new property added to the tax rolls, the city will reap another $1,540,425 in property tax if they adopt the ordinance on September 19. Of that $1.5 million, $635,425 comes from new property added to the tax rolls in FY 2016-2017. As per state law, the council took a record vote on the first reading of the ordinance to adopt the budget, then took another vote on the property tax rate. Both record votes were unanimous. The proposed budget includes funding for five new officers for the Police Department and eight new fire fighter positions to staff the additional ambulance included in the budget. The Council will take a final vote to adopt the budget and tax rate at the meeting on Tuesday, September 19.
SAN ANGELO, TX -- San Angelo City Council members Tuesday rejected Reece Albert’s bid for the first phase of Bell St. reconstruction after the bid came in 32 percent over budget.
City engineer Russell Pehl told council members the budget for the project was $5.6 million and the bid was $7.392 million. The project includes reconstructing the pavement, replacing water and sewer lines, building a sidewalk and replacing traffic signals and signage from Rio Concho Drive to Harris Ave.
Pehl recommended combining all three phases of reconstruction into one bid. “By combining the three phases, we should get more bidders and better prices.” Pehl said. “We had interest from multiple contractors during the bidding process but we only received one bid.”
City councilman Harry Thomas said he gets questions everyday about the project and wants to get it done as soon as possible “I’m very, very disappointed that we will push it forward another three months.”
The council unanimously rejected the bid and instructed staff to combine all three phases and go out for bids in November. Pehl said, “We would begin construction in January or February.” The three phases include reconstructing Bell St. from Rio Concho Drive to Loop 306.
Mayor Brenda Gunter said, “I know we need to get on with it. I get calls everyday.”
Also on Tuesday the council held the first public hearing on the fiscal year 2017-2018 budget. After some discussion with staff, Mayor Gunter recessed the open session and went into closed session to discuss the budget and pending litigation.
We will update this story after the council comes out of executive session.