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July 10, 2014

Troup: City mulls budget, water issue

TROUP — Local city leaders got an initial look at the preliminary 2014-2015 budget during Tuesday night's regular meeting, and have called a July 29 special meeting to further address it.

“It's very preliminary at this point,” said City Manager Gene Cottle, “but our budget is roughly the same as last year.”

Troup's 2013 fiscal year budget was approximately $2.475 million. Because the council does not want to raise taxes or water and sewer rates, they're working hard to keep the proposed budget similar to this year's, he said.

The biggest factor impacting the 2014 budget is infrastructure needs.

“We have a coloration problem in one of the water wells, a cosmetic issue (affecting the water itself),” Cottle said. “It's been a long-term problem, though it doesn't impact anyone's health or the flavor of the water.”

The discoloration is a result in the change of the make up of chemicals used to treat the water, he explained.

“The city had to comply with new disinfection regulations a few years ago – the old method caused some by-products (in the water) that the E.P.A. felt might be harmful to people. Before, the chlorine was able to burn the color out, but they needed to change the way the water is treated, and I'm not sure of the chemistry behind it, but it's a significant enough change (to cause discoloration),” Cottle said.

During the next few months, council members will be studying the proposed budget, which must be adopted by the end of September to go into effect Oct. 1, the beginning of the city's new fiscal year.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, the council voted to lower the speed limit along Texas Hwy. 110 outside Troup on the route to New Summerfield.

Ordinance No. 2014-0708-0 was adopted at the suggestion of TXDoT, which said that lowering the speed by five miles per hour to 40 MPH would create safer driving conditions for travelers, Cottle said.

“We've had quite a few accidents there, and we asked the state if we could lower the limits inside the city limits along Hwy 110 going into and out of Troup,” he said.

The new speed limit is effective immediately; however, until the new 40 MPH stretch receives mandatory publication by the city and new signs posted, it will not be enforced, he said.

The council also declared an emergency item to the current budget to allow purchase of a $13,373 heating/AC system for a building leased to the U.S. Postal Service, which just inked a five-year contract with the City of Troup.

“It's not in our current budget, so we had to declare it an emergency to be able to purchase the new system, which we'll include as an amended item on the budget,” Cottle said.

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