Breckenridge Texan

City Commission appoints Blake Hamilton to vacant position, approves budget and tax rate

City Commission appoints Blake Hamilton to vacant position, approves budget and tax rate
September 08
06:01 2022

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

The Breckenridge City Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday night, Sept, 6, to appoint Blake Hamilton to the City Commission, filling the Place 1 spot vacated by Greg Akers when he resigned last month. The commissioners also approved the 2022-2023 City budget and the new property tax rate, as well as handled a variety of other City business items.

Malcolm Bufkin

Hamilton graduated from Breckenridge High School in 2011 and from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering in 2016. He was not in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting and will be sworn in at the next meeting, City Secretary Jessica Sutter said.

Additionally, Interim City Manager Steve Norwood announced that Malcolm Bufkin has been appointed as the Breckenridge Fire Chief. He will also continue to do the codes enforcement job he has been doing recently.

Budget and Tax Rate

Following a brief public hearing, the commissioners approved the new budget, ratified the property tax revenue increase and approved the tax rate for the upcoming year.

The budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2022, and ending Sept. 30, 2023, includes $4,757,700 in revenue, an increase over the 2021-2022 budget by $556,000. The expenditures total $4,719,612, an increase of $667,827 over last year.

In going through a report on the budget, Norwood listed some of the items in the budget, including:

  • Increased pay for all existing employees, to bring their salaries to market competitiveness, as well as funding additional health insurance costs
  • Additional debt payments to pay off debt early
  • Improvements to the City Pool, such as gates, filter and generators
  • Replacement of four inoperable police patrol vehicles
  • Funding for city property maintenance, mowing and demolition of substandard structures, as well as funding for hiring goats to clear the creeks and the area around Lake Daniel
  • Water line enhancements on Sixth Street and FM 3099

One area that has been a topic of discussion at recent City Commission meetings has been the Animal Control department of the Breckenridge Police Department. Norwood said the new budget includes funding for a second full-time animal control officer, as well as the part-time animal control employee.

“If you want to know where your police chief was, most of the day today he was in court on dog-related issues,” he said. “And if you want to know where your city attorney was at, a good portion of the day was in court on the same issue. We’re averaging about 30 to 40 calls a week just on animal control services. So, you know, the bottom line is, do you want to send a certified police officer out there to respond to that or an animal control officer, much different in cost. And we are keeping the part-time person that we have budgeted. That will help offset vacation, sick, working weekends, what have you.”

Norwood said the budget also includes $3,000 for repairs to the animal shelter air conditioning and $2,500 for repairs to the kennels.

Click here to see the budget summary, excerpted from the Sept. 6 meeting agenda. Click here to visit the City of Breckenridge’s Finance web page, where the current (2021-2022) and previous budgets are posted.

The City’s property tax rate was set at $1.02 per $100 taxable valuation. That number is 4 cents less than last year’s rate. However, due to increased property values within the city limits, the amount of funds raised through the taxes will be more than was raised last year.

Breckenridge City Commissioner Rob Durham listens to Interim City Manager Steve Norwood talk about the proposed tax rate. The commissioners approved the new tax rate at Tuesday night’s meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Public Presentations

Stephens County Justice of the Peace Steve Spoon addressed the commissioners about the municipal court, which was combined with the JP court earlier this year. Specifically, he said he wanted to brag about Municipal Court Clerk Melissa Vick, who recently passed the municipal clerk’s certification test.

“She’s done an exceptional job,” Spoon said. “She’s not just doing a good job…she’s just grabbed hold of it with everything she can. She’s doing an extremely good job, a great joy to have in the office… And so we’re blessed to have her.”

Will Thompson with the Stephens County Appraisal District also provided the commissioners with an update on the appraisal district. Later in the meeting, the commissioners approve the 2023 budget for the Stephens County Appraisal District.

Other Business

During the meeting, the Breckenridge City Commissioners also approved the following:

  • A request by December Owen to rezone the property at 911 N. Court St. from $1 (single-family dwelling district) to R4 (general dwelling district)
  • The 2022-2023 budget for the Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation
  • The appointment of Lee Olson and the reappointment of Wade Smith, David Duggan and Ty Bartoskewitz to the BEDC
  • End-of-year adjustments to the 2021-2022 City budget
  • The Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce’s City Hotel/Motel Tax Audit for the year ending Dec. 31, 2021
  • A new general fee schedule for the City
  • Facility use agreements with the Stephens County Humane Society for the use of the City-owned building at 210 N. Liveoak St., which the organization uses for a thrift store, and with New Destination Church for the use of the building at 210 N. Smith St.

Stephens County Chief Tax Appraiser Will Thompson gives a report on the appraisal district to the Breckenridge City Commission on Tuesday, Sept. 6. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Breckenridge City Commissioners Gary Mercer and Vince Moore, along with Mayor Bob Sims, look over documents during Tuesday’s regular meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 


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