After a summer’s worth of discussion, city council will consider formal adoption of the fiscal year 2020-2021 budget and tax rate Monday night.

The proposed budget is actually smaller than the year before, down about $116,000, and the proposed tax rate calls for it to fall from 56.888 cents per $100 in property value this year to 56.338 cents per $100, the no new revenue rate, according to the tax assessor-collector’s office.

The change may not mean lower bills for El Campo homeowners, however. The effect depends on your home’s value.

The average home in El Campo rose from $145,540 to $152,650, according to computations made by the Wharton County Central Appraisal District. On average, this means about a $33 increase to the bill.

Although utility rates are not rising, users will likely see a bigger bill there as well. The minimum use base rate is falling from 3,000 gallons to 2,500 gallons next year.

“It’s very tight, very frugal,” City Manager Courtney Sladek said during the final summer talk. “There are no pay raises, no stipends, no adjustments.”

Sales tax collections are projected to remain steady at last year’s level of $4.5 million in response to the uncertain climate caused by COVID-19.

A full-time emergency management coordinator, a $60,000 to 72,000 post, is the only new post in next fiscal year’s plan. Currently, $14,000 in paid stipends is divided among two people who work the job part time. The city hopes grants will cover the cost of the position.

Capital items in the budget proposal are limited to street and utility line maintenance, two replacement police cruisers and a replacement mower for Public Works.

The $21.3 million budget, if ultimately approved, will go into effect Oct. 1.

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.

Only 26 people will be allowed in council chambers because of social distancing requirements. Those attending must wear a mask. Those unable to attend can submit their comments to council@cityofelcampo.org by 2 p.m. Monday to become part of the permanent record.

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