Amarillo city budget presented for 2016-17 fiscal year

Amarillo city budget presented for 2016-17 fiscal year

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - This year's budget for the City of Amarillo rings in at $328 million, which is $8 million less than last year's budget.

That number does not include projects from the five year capital improvement plan.

This proposed budget would fund 250 programs within the city, increase goods and services, and open a new community activity center in north Amarillo.

The lowest paid city workers would also see an increase in pay.

Every city department was asked to try to cut its budget by three percent if possible to find the money to increase these salaries for lower paid workers.

"We took some of that money and applied it to increased salaries for the employees that need those raises the most, our lowest level employees," said Mayor Paul Harpole. "We think that will result in better morale and help us attract and keep employees that do a hard day's work every day."

Over the next few days, council will also consider implementing rate increases to water and utility bills for upkeep on the current infrastructure.

As for the capital improvement plan, that original $900 million of projects has been cut down to about $530.7 million.

"We came down to $355 million that undeniably need [to be done] and so there are some basic things we'll do if we get any kind of a [property tax] increase, and basically that talks about infrastructure and primarily streets," said Harpole.

And it's up to the voters to decide how these things will be paid for.

Voters will not have to decide between a two, three or four percent property tax increase, but rather be shown different project categories and dollar amounts and vote on what matters to them.

"I support us doing some capital projects that really address dire needs of our city that won't get better if we don't deal with it now," said Harpole. "No one else is going to step in and deal with this, and I think the history of our city tells that we will support the progress of our city and the growth of our city and that's what we're doing."

Starting Wednesday morning, the city will host three public meetings on the city budget review process in the City Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall:

  • Wednesday, August 3rd, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    • General Fund Departments
  • Thursday, August 4th, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    • Enterprise Fund Departments
  • Monday, August 8th, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
    • Community Investment Plan

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