Public hearings set for Aug. 18, Sept. 1
By David Jenkins
The Aug. 4 regular Murphy City Council meeting featured a variety of topics.
Key discussions were the fiscal year 2016 proposed tax rate (approved), appraisal roll (approved), Community Survey project and the southeast sector survey.
Public hearings over the tax rate were set for 6 p.m. Aug. 18 and Sept. 1 at the council chambers.
The proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2016 is 0.53 cents per $100 valuation.
The tax rate is comprised of the maintenance and operations rate of 0.333221 cents and 0.196779 cents for debt service.
That is a two-cent decrease from the 55-cent tax rate from the fiscal year 2015.
“This will be the second straight year of a pretty decent tax rate decrease,” Mayor Eric Barna said. “If you look at your tax bill the city tax rate will the one that showed the lowest amount of increase.”
The appraisal roll taxable value was certified at $1,916,589,023 for 2015. This represents an 8 percent increase ($141,933,588) compared to the 2014 appraisal roll of $1,774,655,435.
This does not include properties still under review by the Appraisal Review Board.
The protested taxable value for 2015 is $58,428,710 compared to $25,968,662 for 2014.
“Our property values continue to go up and show a strong community. This is good for the city that our value is still going up,” Fisher said. “Even though appraised values continue to go up and bring in additional revenue, it doesn’t mean that everything is always rosy. There are other line items within the revenue sheet that aren’t as strong or are declining. As we all know, those are issues that we are going to have to address further down the road.”
After direction from the council at the July 21 meeting, the city staff reached out to Decision Analyst (survey consultant) with some questions on the Community Survey Project.
The intent of the city survey is to create questions that can be used as a measuring tool bi-annually to get a pulse of what the community wants, feels and craft some questions focused on the possibility of a bond package, and what residents would support.
“We want to make sure that we keep the survey as a manageable link, so people don’t get frustrated,” Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Owais Siddiqui said. “There are some questions on there that we already have the answers to. I think there are questions that we could take out.”
The city’s IT Department will be working closely with the consultant to coordinate emails from various database systems in-house.
There is also the possibility of utilizing the MindMixer solution to solicit responses as well.
Another topic was the southeast sector survey which garnered much debate.
“This is a very aggressive plan, since our moratorium expires on Oct. 5. So we have to a lot of work to do in a short period of time,” Fisher said. “We really want to get the thoughts of the property owners and get that to P&Z and council. We would like to get a rough draft to you guys by the end of this month or early September, so you have time to look at it before consideration of full adoption at the end of September.”
The city is in the process of revising the Comprehensive Plan and studying the land uses, public facilities, flooding, connectivity, and development of the area near south Maxwell Creek, the southeast sector study and plan.
The project includes studying existing and future development conditions and land uses in and near the south Maxwell Creek area.
Significant development in and around South Maxwell Creek requires the city to determine the best method to protect the area and strengthen the connection between the City’s ordinances and the goals and needs of the citizens. The existing regulations are inadequate to prevent new development from being detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the city’s residents.
The temporary moratorium in place until Oct. 4, allows the city to address compelling land use and environmental compatibility concerns associated with development activities occurring in and around the south Maxwell Creek area, while reviewing and adopting ordinances to provide for compatible development in order to protect the character of existing residential property while providing for potential development of property along FM 544 and McCreary Rd.
Other items were:
- Council approved a special permit allowing the possession and discharge of fireworks to Illumination Fireworks LLC at the Sept. 26 Murphy Maize Days event.
- Council approved the application of Murphy Four Venture, LP requesting approval of a site plan, landscape plan, building elevations and construction plat for a proposed retail space located in the northeast corner of FM 544 and Maxwell Creek Road.
Plans had already been approved by Planning and Zoning.
The building would be located east of Race Track, facing the front of FM 544.
Also included in the escrow would be construction of sidewalks in the future.
Preliminary estimates have six businesses occupying the building.