The public will get a chance to weigh in on the proposed 2019-2020 budget Monday night and city council will be asked to call for citizen hearings on the pending annexation of the rail-supported warehouse project under development.

Next year’s budget draft calls for more money going toward street work and utility equipment as well as staff pay raises while lowering the proposed tax rate from 63.218 cents per $100 to 56.887 cents.

The drop, however, does not necessarily mean a homeowner would be paying less. With increased property values an individual homeowner’s bill could still wind up being more.

There’s also a 60-cent hike in the minimum utility rates while the transportation user fee is set to rise from 43 cents per month for city residents to $1.87 per month.

“Despite the improved economy, the proposed FY 2019-2020 budget is conservative in its revenue estimates and expenditures,” City Manager Courtney Sladek told council in her budget statement.

The requested annexation of the Southwest International Gateway Business Park land remains pending.

“(Monday), we will ask council to call a public hearing (on the proposed annexation),” City Secretary Lori Hollingsworth said.

The public would then have the opportunity to speak for or against the request, most likely during an October session.

The rail park is a 540-acre project with a current request to annex the first 130 acres.

No clients, however, have been announced and the land it will sit upon remains in local hands without any construction upon it.

Developers have told council the goal is to annex the land into the city, sell up to $15 million in bonds which would be paid back via development inside the park, and have the land change hands at the same time.

Councilman John Hancock, however, is asking to see proof developers have the financial backing to push the deal through.

The El Campo City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in chambers, 315 E. Jackson. The meeting is open to the public with time specifically designated for citizen comments.

Other items before Council include:

• The purchase of one patrol unit.

• Changes to the Drought Contingency Plan after a review by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

• Assorted insurance renewals.

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