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March 26, 2013

Residents present budget questions to city

GREENVILLE — Local residents had a chance Monday night to have their questions about the  City of Greenville budget answered, before the effort to draft the next fiscal year’s budget formally gets under way.

City Manager Steven Alexander said Monday night’s town hall meeting was a way to make the budget-setting process more accessible to the public.

“The City Council has asked me to change that up a bit, and make it more interactive,” Alexander said of the meeting inside the Fletcher Warren Civic Center, which was designed to help obtain residents’ ideas on what they wanted to see in the budget. “And ultimately including as much of that input into next year’s budget as possible.”

The session started off with the basics of the budget, including who is responsible for tax dollars; the strategic initiatives used by the Council to determine how to prioritize expenditures and the differences in the various funds in the budget.

The members of the audience were then invited to meet with individual department heads, in order to ask questions about how they set their budgets.

Each person who attended the meeting was invited to fill out a survey, asking for their thoughts on how each of the departments are doing and what they believe are the key issues which the city is facing.

The survey will also be made available on the City of Greenville web site at www.ci.greenville.tx.us, and Alexander said there will be additional opportunities for citizens to become involved.

“We’re going to have a couple more of these meetings before the budget process is done,” Alexander said.

The City Council usually begins conducting budget workshop meetings during the summer, to begin crafting the next fiscal year’s budget. A budget and tax rate must be passed by the start of the fiscal year on October 1.

The current City of Greenville budget is funded through the a property tax rate of 69.9 cents per $100 valuation, unchanged from the previous fiscal year. The budget included several cuts but increased by 50 percent the amount the city will spend on maintaining local streets.

Those wanting additional information about the survey or the budget process can call 903-457-3116.

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