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Bonham City Council approves tax rate, operating budget for FY 2018-2019
By Allen Rich
Sep 11, 2018
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 Bonham -- During a regular meeting held Monday, September 10, 2018, Bonham City Council voted to retain the current tax rate for the coming year and approved an operating budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 that includes a 5% pay increase for city employees.

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Fr. Paolo Capra, pastor of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Bonham, gave the invocation and later expressed appreciation to Bonham City Council for improving streets near the church.

Fr. Paolo said the church continues to assist families in need following the recent ICE raids in Sumner, Texas.

The pastor reported that 90 of the original 170 detainees have been released after paying fines ranging from $5,000-$7,500. 

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Councilmembers began the meeting by approving minutes from previous meetings held August 13, August 21, August 27 and September 4.

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Dave Struchtemeyer, CPA, Director of Finance for the City of Bonham presented the August 2018 Financial Report to Bonham City Council.

"General Fund is going to end the year very close to break-even," Mr. Struchtemeyer informed the city council."Revenues are tracking a little over $350,000 favorable to the budget, primarily due to the $264,000 of disaster relief reimbursements received from both FEMA and the Federal Highway Administration. The rest of the favorable variance is from greater than expected collections for building permits and sales tax and alcohol tax collections."

"The favorable revenue from the disaster relief was more than offset in the Street department from cost incurred this year of $343,000 repairing both bridges covered by the disaster relief," Struchtemeyer continued. "Medical claims are down for the eighth month in a row and we anticipate that we will recover about $40,000-$50,000 of the $133,000 unfavorable variance in medical insurance cost for the fiscal year.  Other favorable variances are coming from departments being understaffed for the majority of the year. Water/Sewer fund is anticipating a modest residual."

Bonham City Council voted to accept the financial report for August.

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In public forum, Michael Evans voiced his support for the pay raise for city employees.

"These are good people working here," Mr. Evans remarked.

Emily Porter was thrilled over the coverage that Bonham Public Library received from the Sherman newspaper during a recent event and also noted that descendants of Bonham founder Bailey Inglish would be in town for a reunion in two weeks.

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Bonham City Council declared September to be National Recovery Month and, on behalf of Bonham Mayor Roy Floyd and the city council, Bonham City Councilmember Wayne Moore presented an official proclamation to representatives of Texoma Community Center.

Bonham City Councilmember Wayne Moore (right) and representatives from Texoma Community Center.

Galen Roberts, North Texas Municipal Water District Watershed Manager, asked Bonham City Council to support the development of a non-regulatory Watershed Protection Plan for Bois d'Arc Lake and the drainage area which includes Lake Bonham. Mr. Roberts asked for participation and input from the city as he prepares grant applications from the state to fund a Watershed Protection Plan similar to the one developed for Lake Lavon.

Bonham City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of the Watershed Protection Plan.

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Bonham City Council briefly recessed in order to step outside and observe a 5' x 10' LED message center sign that could be placed at the corner of Hwy. 121 and Hwy. 56 and used to promote events in town. The cost would range from $35,000-$38,000 and be funded via the Hotel/Motel tax. The message center could be programmed remotely.

Emily Porter leads a discussion as councilmembers and city staff observe a replica of a programmable message center.

Councilmember Jet Trubey asked for data regarding the possibility of a message center contributing to distracted driving and Bonham Police Chief Mike Bankston cautioned that this intersection has more traffic incidents than any intersection in town.

Rusty Deets reminded councilmembers of codes in place that govern signs.

Mark Posey, Code Enforcement Officer for the City of Bonham, stated that he would relay applicable codes to the company that would design the message center, Signmark LLC.

The message center could display everything from events in town to warning of dangerous weather moving into the area.

Bonham City Council unanimously approved the digital message center with the stipulation that it must adhere to current city codes.

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Bonham City Council at large will fill a vacancy on Parks Advisory Committee. 

Councilmember Kevin Hayes was appointed to the board of Meals on Wheels of Texoma.

The City of Bonham will advertise to fill a vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission, as well as recruit an alternative to serve on the commission.

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Bonham City Council approved a resolution setting dates and times for public hearings regarding the voluntary annexation of 13.168 acres north of Bonham.

Property owners Jim and Rhonda Dorsey approached city staff requesting voluntary annexation, which would extend city water, trash services, fire/police and code enforcement, as the developers create a 90-space RV park. 

Public hearings on this matter are set for October 8 at 5:30 p.m. and October 22 at 5:30 p.m. Both public hearings will be held at Bonham City Hall.

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Bonham City Council approved an amendment to Ordinance 1354 which will amount to a pass-through 2.87% increase for solid waste collection inside the city and at Lake Bonham. 

Bonham City Council also amended Ordinance 1309 which regulates the permit, registration and re-inspection fee schedules.

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Bonham City Council adopted an ad valorem tax rate of $0.6864 per $100 of taxable value for the tax year beginning January 1, 2018. That is the same tax rate as the previous year.

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Bonham City Council voted 6-1 to adopt the fiscal year 2018-2019 operating budget for the City of Bonham. The dissenting vote was cast by councilmember Jerry Gay, who expressed concerns about the budget process, as well as the timetable for completion of the annual outside audit.