At a workshop session on Aug. 11, Conroe finance officials warned the council that adding public safety posts would cause the city to go negative for years to come. (Employee of the Community Impact newspaper)
Conroe City Council members faced a dilemma when they attended a council workshop on Nov.
The proposed positions were proposed at the council members’ closed session on July 25th and consist of seven policemen, three sergeants, and two lieutenants. Eight fire brigade posts were also requested.
In addition, the proposed budget would eliminate a step in the police sergeant and lieutenant payment plans that bears its own expense.
According to a presentation by the tax office, the total cost of the security officers amounts to around 2.24 million US dollars. The total cost of the proposed changes after the city’s withdrawal, including one-time and recurring expenses, increased nearly $ 4 million for general fund expenses.
Collin Boothe, Conroe’s assistant finance director, said he could not recommend proceeding with any of the proposed changes. Boothe presented a slide showing the city of Conroe is projected to lose more than $ 4.14 million from fiscal 2023-24. The city is expected to lose over $ 15 million by fiscal 2026-27.
“We’re really going to be in the red if we budget all of these ongoing items as suggested,” said Boothe. “We can’t have such a trajectory. Even if you are conservative, that is not sustainable. “
Both Boothe and Steve Williams, the city’s financial advisor, said the spending would not be advisable without an increase in revenue. City administrator Paul Virgadamo told the city that a 4 cents tax hike could offset the increased spending. However, Boothe told Community Impact Newspaper that the tax office is not currently planning a tax hike.
Councilor Marsha Porter opposed the cuts, saying she believed the city should support their prosecution.
“I hate cutting fires. I hate cutting cops. Can we get these positions back next year when we have more money? ”Said Portier. “We can’t put fire and police on the ground every time.”
Other council members offered possible solutions. Mayor Jody Czajowski mentioned a possible bond issue to finance infrastructure projects such as a fire station so that funds could be reallocated to fund staff. The discussion was finally put on the table for the day.
The city council will return for another session on Aug. 12, where the proposed budget will be on the list Action Agenda. The budget will also be subject to a public hearing on August 26th before being adopted on September 9th. The fiscal year 2021-22 starts on October 1st.