By Kevin Jefferies
The Commerce City Council received the budget for the next fiscal year in regular session last night. The budget is balanced and includes a 5% tax increase. City Manager Bill Shipp said the budget was based on a 4% increase on appraised property values. Initial figures from the Hunt County Appraisal District come in with a 6% increase, but Shipp expects that number to be less once final tax rolls are received in late July.
Shipp said that many expenditures have been cut back, but some expenses, such as rising oil and gas prices and rising healthcare costs, are beyond the city's control.
The budget also includes a 2% across-the-board pay increase for city employees. Several council members emphasized the importance for the raise in initial budget discussions. Regular pay increase and good benefits were seen as crucial to keeping good city employees and saving the expense of continually training new employees.
The Council begins fine tuning the budget when budget workshops begin next Tuesday.