By Chad Engbrock
The city is getting a new business downtown that will feature old fashion jams, jellies, pickles and relishes.
The Happy Cucumber, which describes itself as a ‘small artisan food manufacturer, was granted a special use permit at last week’s city council meeting, allowing it to produce and sell its goods at 201 S. McKinney St.
The business, located just east of the post office and owned by Kelly and Jim Terrell, will devote about a quarter of its space to retail sales. It supplies canned products to farmers markets and specialty stores and has an online store as well.
During the public comments portion of the meeting several residents of Farmersville and the surrounding area spoke in opposition to a proposed Muslim cemetery in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, just west of the city limits. See the separate story regarding the property in this edition of the Times.
In other council business, all department reports were approved through consent agenda except for Public Works and the Library.
Council had comments about the capacity of the city’s wastewater system due to recent heavy rains. Council also congratulated Librarian Trish Dowell for her coordination of an Audie Murphy Day program at the library. Both department reports were approved after brief discussion.
In order to select a new auditor, the city recently received bids for audit services from BrooksCardiel and Conway Company. Council approved staff recommendations and named BrooksCardiel as the city’s financial auditor for the next five years, through 2019. Fees for fiscal year 2015 are $18,088 and increase each year thereafter to $20,355 for fiscal year 2019.
Council also approved a COBRA continuation of coverage agreement and renewed its services with Collin County for the jail services for fiscal year 2016.
An agreement with Collin County for dispatch services was also approved. The agreement continues through Sept. 2016.
Also, Christi Adams’ resignation from the Farmersville Community Development Corporation board was accepted and Kim Potter was appointed to the board to fill the vacancy.
In talks about upcoming changing zoning ordinances Councilman Jim Foy expressed the need to give thought to the use of alleys, specifically as they relate to smaller lots. He suggested the use of alleys would eliminate the need for cars parking on and blocking sidewalks.
Council also held a budget work session. The presentation was coordinated by Finance Director Daphne Hamlin.
Highlights for the FY 2016 budget include: individual performance increases, bunker gear for the fire department, a cost of living increase, increases in equipment costs, leases for two patrol cars, an additional fireman, an additional full or part -time library staff position and an additional code enforcement officer.
The total cost of these expenses is estimated at $310,605.
Proposed expenses for the FY 2016 general fund are $3,074,446, compared to expected general fund expenses of $3,212,299 for FY 2015 ending Sept. 30, 2015.
General fund revenues for FY 2016 are currently budgeted at $3,074,447 compared to a projected $3,143,280 for FY 2015. The primary shortfall is due to transfer revenue of $135,388 in FY 2015 that is not budgeted in the upcoming year.
Hamlin presented departmental budgets as well as tax rate information.
The current city ad valorem tax rate is 78.57366 cents. This is a combination of 32.2866 cents for the interest and sinking rate and 46.28706 cents for the maintenance and operations tax rate.
Several preliminary tax rates were presented, including a tax rate of 82.2575 cents for FY 2016. This reflects an interest and sinking fund rate of 38.8126 cents and a maintenance and operations rate of 43.4449 cents. Overall the rate would increase by 4.69 percent if this preliminary rate were adopted.
The city is expected to hold its first tax rate public hearing on Aug. 25 and a second public hearing on Sept. 1, 2015.
A public hearing on the proposed budget for FY 2016 will be held on Aug. 25 as well.
City council will hold its next regular meeting on July 28.