On Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, the City Council approved a budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, which lowers the city portion of the tax rate to $0.6859 per $100 of assessed valuation, $0.0252 lower than last year’s property tax rate and the lowest the city’s rate has been since 2009. (Some property owners may see their city tax bills rise if the assessed values of their property increased. The city of Burleson does not set the appraised value of homes. The appraisal districts in the homeowner’s residing county are responsible.)
The adopted budget was developed over the last seven months with the input of the city council and community via an online survey and public meetings. The budget is designed to meet the challenges faced by the organization and accomplish the goals outlined in the City of Burleson’s Strategic Plan. It was also developed in the context of a five-year financial plan to ensure that decisions made today are financially sustainable in the future.
The approximately $155.4 million budget includes adding a one percent homestead exemption in FY 2023, which will be increased one percent each year thereafter to continue to offer our resident’s a way to decrease their property tax bill. This will be the first time ever the city of Burleson has offered a homestead exemption.
A substantial investment in Burleson’s public safety is included in this year’s budget. Multiple new positions are being added in the police department, including six new police officers. The police officers include a new canine officer, a new detective sergeant, two downtown police officers and two new school resource officers. Six new firefighters and one administrative lieutenant are being added to enhance fire and EMS services to the community.
Maintaining the city’s roadways is a top priority in the budget, with council approving $8.93 million in street improvements over the coming year. Highlighted capital improvement projects include improving mobility on SH 174 (Wilshire Blvd) by updating all signal controllers and the communications for the signals to sync them with real-time traffic flow patterns. Other projects include adding a dual left-turn lane and a dedicated right-turn lane with dual through lanes at the SW Hulen Street & SH 174 intersection and providing an east to west connection from I-35W to Chisholm Trail Parkway. This project will connect to the existing Alsbury Boulevard, which terminates at HulenConnect, to the existing CR 1020.
The city manager’s office continues to place an emphasis on cost containment through organizational changes, sick and leave policy updates and bond refunding. To better manage the city’s debt service costs, staff recommended that the debt associated with the 2011 Water and Waste Water bonds be refinanced. Council approved this refinancing, and it is expected to save approximately $1.1M over the next 10 years.
Staff also eliminated an $18.1 million bond sale following a detailed review of the city’s capital projects. Projects will continue as planned due to the use of escrowed funds, unallocated resources, and the reallocation of existing funds among eligible projects.
The proposed budget does not recommend any fee increases for water or sewer utility customers.