On the agenda: More than the budget

The Henderson City Council faces a crowded agenda Monday night for its last scheduled meeting of the fiscal year — and that’s before it gets to the ordinances related to the 2005-06 budget.

Two ordinances specifically address the expenditures and revenues for the fiscal year that starts Friday. Both are to be distributed to council members at the meeting, reflecting the down-to-the-wire nature of this year’s budget work.

The first ordinance would set the rates for water and sewer service. City Manager Eric Williams proposed a 10 percent increase in water charges and a 15 percent boost in sewer charges, and council members never suggested any changes.

The second ordinance covers the overall $25 million budget, including the property tax rate and the sanitation charge. Williams indicated that the budget will feature a tax rate of 67 cents per $100 valuation, a 3-cent increase, and a $27-a-month sanitation fee, a $2 increase.

As part of the budget discussion, Williams wants to clarify various issues raised during last week’s Finance and Intergovernmental Relations Committee meetings, including the use of Community Development Block Grant administration money and the funds collected for and diverted to the Code Compliance Department. And he plans to discuss a letter that the city will send the H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library trustees and the county government about library funding.

Those aren’t the only budget-related ordinances the council will have to wait until Monday night to see. Also on the agenda:

* An ordinance to close out some revenues and expenses for fiscal 2004-05.

* A budget amendment to add money to the Code Compliance Department’s contracted services account, used to clear overgrown and trashed lots and to tear down abandoned buildings.

* A budget amendment to spend capital-outlay money from the water fund on an upgrade to the water billing system and software. The FAIR Committee gave preliminary approval to the upgrade months ago.

* A budget amendment to cover repairs to a wrecked police car.

* A budget amendment to the sewer fund to cover a shortfall in sewer revenue.

* The long-awaited amendment to the capital improvement project budget for the Embassy Square cultural center to cover the actual $1.8 million the city spent on land and planning, $400,000 more than budgeted.

Williams estimates that the council can deal with all of that in 15 minutes.

He also notes in the meeting agenda any ordinance requires a two-thirds vote for passage on the day of introduction; otherwise, it needs a second reading. If all eight council members are there, six votes will be necessary to pass the above ordinances.

Before dealing with the budget matters, the council will deal with such significant issues as the proposed redevelopment of North Henderson, the city’s 10-year anti-homelessness plan and the possible consolidation of the city government in the Operations & Service Center. See the full agenda here.

The meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building on Beckford Drive. Mayor Clem Seifert will hold his monthly Speak Up Henderson forum from 6 to 7 before the council meeting in the council chambers, with a special focus on the homelessness plan and the focus groups that were held in connection with that plan Friday.