Troup breaks ground on new park;  holds hearings for tax rate, budget

From left to right in the front row are Kim Carter, Connie Switzer, David Sutton, Serena Prince and Gary Salyer, all Troup Community Development Corporation Board members, Troup Planning and Zoning chairman, Barbara Barton, Troup Mayor, Joe Carlyle, Sean Spencer, Heartland Play, and Kyle Stephens, Stephens Engineering. In the second row are Dianne Layne, Troup Police Chief, Pat Hendrix and Nelson Darden, Troup City Councilman.

On the heels of breaking ground on a new park on Short Street, the Troup City Council met Monday night and approved a number of items regarding city matters.

One of the first topics of discussion was the city's latest financial report. It was unanimously approved.

According to Troup City Manger Gene Cottle, the city is 83.33 percent through the year's fiscal budget. He said the August sales tax payment of $43,270.69 is the second largest August payment in the city's history.

“If the September payment is an average tax payment over the past eight years, the total sales tax collections for the year will be in excess of $444,000 or $72,000 over budget revenue estimates,” Cottle said.

During the meeting, the council held the first public hearing on the proposed City of Troup tax rate for 2019-20. No one was present for the hearing or for a separate hearing for the 2019-20 budget.

The council unanimously voted on a motion that following a public hearing that the fiscal year's budget be submitted for consideration for adoption by the council at the Sept. 16 meeting.

The council also authorized the publication of the Notice of Tax Revenue Increase form 50-198.

A new policy was also approved for tax abatement.

The Troup Community Development Corporation budget for 2019-20 was approved, as well as a letter of engagement with Acker & Company for audit of the city's finances for the fiscal year.

Council members unanimously awarded a contract to Leetech Solutions for sewer line repairs on W. Duval Street for $65,502.

Terms expiring for the Library Board were approved for appointees Jan Singletary, Shannon Capps and Gene Whitsell.

An interlocal agreement between Smith County and the City of Troup was approved for emergency and non-emergency law enforcement dispatch services.

A Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Project Participation funding request was also approved. The request was for the Smith County 911 District for $17,559.79 to fund five laptop computers and one Toughpad for the Troup Police Department.

A resolution encouraging Troup residents to participate in the 2020 Census was also approved.

An executive session was held to discuss the annual evaluation of the city secretary. No action was taken from the session.

Other notes from Cottle included:

- With the arrival of dry weather, if September is an average month, the budget revenue shortfall in the Water Department budget will be about $5,300.

- The Engineer plans to bid the downtown sidewalk project in November and open bids prior to the December council meeting so that the bid can be awarded at the December meeting. This avoids construction occurring during Holiday in the Country and the Christmas parade.

- In July, Smith County completed the interlocal paving agreement work on North and South Church Street, West Paschal Street from SH 135 to South Beulah Street and County Line Road. The county has agreed to allow us to fund County Line Road out of the 2019-2020 budget. This allowed the city to do several extra blocks of West Paschal Street in this year’s budget.

- On Sept. 16, the demolition of three substandard properties is scheduled to start. The properties are at 105 W. Bryant, 102 N. Price and 108 N. Price and will be paid from this year’s budget. These properties were approved earlier by the council for demolition.

- The eminent domain condemnation is still awaiting review by the three court-appointed commissioners.

- The city's application to the Texas Water Development Board is awaiting approval of our Water Conservation Plan by the board.

- The city is exploring various options for animal control, including contracting with another entity to do that work for the city.

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