Ebrahim in line to be next city manager

Aug 12, 2013

The City Council apparently didn’t have to look too far to find the next city manager for the City of Greenville.

Interim City Manager/Director of Public Works Massoud Ebrahim is scheduled to be named to the position Tuesday, after Ebrahim presents the Council with the proposed city budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The Council intends to discuss Ebrahim’s appointment, as well as the city manager’s salary, during an executive session as part of Tuesday’s regular agenda, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. The vote to name Ebrahim as city manager would take place after the Council returns to regular session.

Ebrahim is scheduled to formally present the proposed Fiscal Year 2013/2014 city budget during a work session, starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Council has been divided over the past few months as to how it wanted to approach the naming of a new city manager.

The Council voted 4-2 in May to appoint Ebrahim as the interim city manager, in the wake of the Council terminating former city manager Steven Alexander’s contract.

The Council voted 4-3 on July 9 to hire a firm to conduct a search for a city manager, but two weeks later voted 5-2 to defeat a measure to hire a consultant from Arlington for the search.

Ebrahim joined the City of Greenville as the Director of Public Works in December 1990. Ebrahim holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University. He holds a Registered Professional Engineering license in Texas and a Class A General Engineering Contracting License in California.

As Director of Public Works, Ebrahim is responsible for the areas of Public Works, Engineering, Streets, and Water and Sewer Utilities. Before coming to Greenville, Ebrahim was the City Engineer for the City of Temple, Texas. He also worked in the private sector for 12 years in Texas as a consultant Civil Engineer and Municipal Engineer.

After presenting a preview last month, Ebrahim is set to formally present his proposed city budget to the Council Tuesday. Ebrahim has called on each Council work session through September to be dedicated toward the budget, which includes an increase in the amount to be spent on maintaining city streets, as well as a pay increase for city employees, but does not include a tax rate increase despite a significant shortfall in revenue.

A new city budget and tax rate must be adopted before the start of the next fiscal year on October 1. The current City of Greenville budget is funded through a property tax rate of 69.9 cents per $100 valuation, unchanged from the previous fiscal year.

Ebrahim said the budget is balanced despite a decrease of more than $354,000 in revenue due to a decrease in the city’s taxable assessed value, due to the closing of the Newell-Rubbermaid plant and other factors.

And while sales tax rebate revenue is up for the year to date, Ebrahim said the city will have to send more than $2,7 million back to the Texas Comptroller’s Office during the next 30 years as a result of a recent ruling by the Texas Supreme Court. The payments are expected to begin next month and will cost the City of Greenville more than $92,000 in revenue per year.

The budget calls for an increase in the amount spent on the annual maintenance program for local streets, from $900,000 this year to $1 million in the coming year, as well as an unspecified pay increase for municipal employees.

Ebrahim has not provided the Council with a specific amount of the proposed pay increase, indicating the raise would be based on whatever action the Council decides to take concerning the rest of the budget and adding the city’s employees have seen only a 1.5 percent increase in their pay in the past four years.

In preparing the budget, Ebrahim said he cut almost $1.35 million in requests from department heads and has proposed leaving vacant all current open positions, pending evaluations of the positions. Ebrahim has also proposed eliminating the $50,000 contract with Strategic Government Resources (SGR). Former Community Relations Manager and Public Information Officer Lori Philyaw left her position with the City of Greenville to join SGR in November 2012, but has continued to serve as a public relations consultant for the city.

Ebrahim is also calling for cutting the $60,000 contract with the Texas Department of Transportation for additional mowing and transferring and was transferring the $40,000 in costs for lot abatement mowing from the general fund to the solid waste fund.

Ebrahim said he wanted to maintain the current tax rate in order to cushion the blow of anticipated increased in the city’s debt service tax rate — expected to be between 7 and 12 cents through 2017 — to pay for a new YMCA/event center and the reconstruction of multiple streets, both of which were approved by local voters in May.

The total proposed general fund budget of $20.71 million represents a decrease in expenditures from the current $20.83 million budget.