Groves new budget includes increase in service costs, raises for employees
Published 12:36 am Thursday, September 8, 2022
GROVES — Officials in Groves have approved a balanced budget that features an income increase for eligible employees, infrastructure work and a change in the tax rate.
The general fund, which is the main operating fund for the city, has total revenues of $11,584,645 for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
Included in the new fiscal year budget is a 5 percent step increase for all full time employees to the wage and salary plan, according to information from the city. The cost of the increase to the budget comes in at $237,253.
Also included in the budget is a 30 cent increase in the monthly garbage rate and a proposed 25 cent per 1,000 gallon sewer maintenance increase.
City Manager D.E. Sosa said an average bill would increase $1.55 per month.
Most residents, he said, use 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of water per month, and with the increases, an average bill will go from $74.91 to $76.46.
Sosa noted growth in the city with 37 new homes under construction as of Aug. 1 as well as “development that will create and expand revenue streams.”
The city’s second largest commercial property at 39th Street and Twin City Highway is home to Starbucks and an under-construction Blue Wave car wash, as well as the largest Chick-fil-A in the state that opened in May.
These developments, he said, will help the city’s revenue stream in 2023.
New construction in the city added more than $61.5 million of value to the tax rolls since 2015, while new values in the budget amount for just more than $12 million. Existing property values increased around $83 million.
Needs in the city
Leaders are looking at upcoming needs such as the wastewater treatment plant.
The city is working with Schneider Electric to evaluate and obtain prices in four areas within the plant, he said.
Once a scope of the project is established, a timeline can be made.
Sewer line replacement is also a need, but grant money will be used to help fund a majority of the work, Sosa said.
Bids for the project came in at $1.97 million, and the city will be using federal grant funds totaling $1.9 million.
The next step is for a public hearing on a tax increase during the 5 p.m. meeting Monday at City Hall. The proposed tax rate is .6359 cents per $100 valuation. While the figure is less than the 2021 tax rate of .6534 cents per $100 valuation, it will bring in more revenue due to an increase in property values.
An average homestead in Groves in 2021 was valued at $137,048 with taxes amounting to $895.53. The value of that home in 2022 is $152,000 with tax on average homestead of $966 with the proposed tax rate, according to information from the city.