By Michelle Vineyard
The City of Kerens held its monthly City Council meeting on July 12, 2022, at 7 PM CST. The Council Agenda covered the following topics; the financial audit for fiscal year ending September 2021, a new housing development proposal, city employee insurance and benefit rates, and budget discussions for fiscal year ending October 2023.
The full audit for fiscal year ending September 2021 was performed by Anderson, Marx & Bohl, P.C. Certified Public Accountants. This audit report can be found on the City of Kerens website at: https://ci.kerens.tx.us. The highlights include:
- The City’s combined net position on the financial statement was $4,527,754 on September 30, 2021, which reflects a 0% change from the prior year. (The net position is an indicator of all of the City’s capital and current assets, minus the current liabilities and long-term debts. Over time, increases or decreases in the net position can express whether its financial health is improving or declining.)
- The City’s total revenues were $2,052,078, 29% of the city revenue comes from taxes, while 51% is produced by charges for services.
- The City’s primary government expenses on the financial statement were $355,920 less than the $2,052,708 that was generated in taxes and other revenues for all activities.
- The total cost of the City’s programs on the financial statement decreased $16,767 from the previous year.
- The general fund reported a balance this year on the financial statement of $322,763, the City began the current year with an adjusted fund balance in the amount of $219,222.
- Sales tax revenue increased $19,000 from the previous year, this is assumed due to the COVID-related shutdowns that occurred in 2020.
- Property tax revenue is up to $382,755 from the previous year.
- The cost of all activities this year was $1.70 million, with only $.38 million of these activities funded by property tax revenues.
- The city’s charges for services declined to $1,039,816.
- The financial audit schedule of findings shows that the city failed to post material adjustment notices, and the city exceeded its budget in several areas.
During the meeting, the council also voted on a new health insurance plan to cover city employees, as the current plan’s pricing is increasing to over 18%- a vote was passed to adopt a new plan with a 14% increase. The council also informed that the pension plan, Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS) rate will be dropping to 12.99% effective January of 2021. TMRS provides retirement, disability and death benefits for municipal employees in the state of Texas, mandatory participation in TMRS is required for all eligible city employees.
Hexagon Development presented their proposal for Richland Gardens, a new planned housing development that would be located in Kerens on a 31 acre lot, located on Highway 31. Hexagon Developments has worked on projects globally, to include Dubai and London, along with more local developments in Plano and Port Lavaca, Texas. Their goal is to provide quality housing at an affordable price.
Richland Gardens would be home to 225 new lots for sale or rent, each lot would be 3,900 square feet. The development plans include luxury-class amenities such as a 9,000 square foot community center/ clubhouse, swimming pool, and communal park. Hexagon plans to complete this development by April 2023, working in Phases to complete the property. The city council unanimously voted to table further discussion on the housing development until a later time.
Preparation of the budget for fiscal year ending October 2023 was also discussed, making the council members aware of rising costs due to inflation rates.