City council met in special session this past Monday, June 28 at City Hall. Here are a few highlights from that meeting:
Wildfire Mitigation Project Update:
Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Chris Rea with Lake Travis Fire Rescue gave an update on the wildfire mitigation cleanup project happening in local greenbelts throughout the City. City council approved spending $350,000 in the latter portion of 2019 to remove dead and downed brush and create shaded fuel breaks in some of our large area greenspaces (focused mainly on Hamilton Greenbelt I & II) to limit the potential for a wildfire to spread to neighboring homes. There were some delays in the project due to weather-related issues and COVID-19. The cleanup project is now about 83% complete in Hamilton Greenbelt I, with a full completion expected in August. Hamilton Greenbelt II will be the next focus of the project. Currently that portion is about 15% complete, with full completion expected in March 2022. A recently secured FEMA grant in the amount of $37,088 will help cover cleanup costs for 5.2 acres in North Lakeway Village. The estimated completion in that area is between April and June of 2022. With $191,517 spent to date on the entire project, Rea expects the full wildfire mitigation project will come in under the approved $350,000 once complete.
Initial FY 2022 Budget Discussion:
Budget planning season begins now and runs through the remainder of the summer. City council will adopt the budget by the end of September and the FY 2022 budget will officially begin on October 1.
At the first budget discussion, the City's health insurance provider gave an update on an upcoming rate increase for staff health insurance costs covered by the City. Representatives with the provider gave a presentation showing a proposed 3% increase to rates for the upcoming budget cycle. A high amount of COVID-19 related claims created a high loss ratio in the current plan year. However, the COVID-19 claims did not factor into the calculation for the rate increase, according to the provider.
City Manager Julie Oakley also gave an initial presentation of the upcoming budget, showing revenue is projected to be higher than previous years at $16,222,594 in the upcoming FY 2022 budget cycle, compared to the FY 2021 current year projected revenue of $15,827,272. This is partly due to higher sales tax revenue collected this fiscal year, and a higher amount of collections anticipated in upcoming months. Also, an estimated increase in appraised property values already on the tax rolls is 7% due to residential properties. With a great number of residential properties outpacing commercial properties, the tax burden in Lakeway is shifting more to residential.
Projected expenditures in the preliminary FY 2022 budget is estimated to be $16,197,566 with all department budget proposals included in the projections, except for some committee budget items. This current expenditure projection amount would still leave $25,029 in surplus when comparing to the projected revenue. When adding in the annual $350,000 transfer to the Capital Reserve Fund, the City of Lakeway would sit at an ending fund balance of 45% in cash reserves, which is well above the roughly 30% target threshold. These numbers will continue to adapt over the course of the next few months, so stay tuned in upcoming meetings for more details on the budget discussion.
to watch the video and review the agenda from Monday night.