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Victoria's budget highlights for Fiscal Year 2013

By BY O.C. GARZA
Nov. 15, 2012 at 5:15 a.m.

O.C. Garza

Thanks to excellent leadership by the Victoria City Council and great input from Victoria residents, the city's current budget features a range of projects that include a 3.9 cents drop in the city tax rate, more than $9 million in repaving and underground utility construction projects, the city's first railroad quiet zone and a city-wide conversion to automatic reading water meters. The City's fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2013. Here are some of the highlights from this year's budget:

Drop in city tax rate - The budget for the city's current fiscal year features a drop in the city tax rate to 60.56 cents per $100 in property value. This is a 3.94 cents drop from last year's 64.5 cents tax rate. This tax rate approaches 1990 levels and reflects the current economic upturn in every sector of Victoria's economy. It should be noted that the city's tax rate has dropped by 9.44 cents since 2004.

Pay increase for all employees - All employees, including police and fire department personnel, will receive at least a three percent pay increase.

Neighborhood repaving, sanitary sewer and drainage projects scheduled for 2013 - The city will spend $9.3 million for infrastructure projects, including the repaving of Dudley Street, Rendon Road, Otilia Road, Sanchez Road and Delmar Drive in the Victoria Bloomington Subdivision. Street repaving is also planned for Leary Lane, Dairy Road, Red River Street from Vine to Riverside Stadium, Springwood Drive and the Original Townsite Repaving Project. Drainage improvements are planned for the Billy and Marilyn Street drainage project and sanitary sewer improvements for the Mayfair neighborhood. A traffic signal at Huvar Street and Navarro is also planned.

Railroad Quiet Zone - The city's first railroad quiet zone, from Del Mar to Ben Wilson, will be built and will be partially funded by private sector funding.

Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) - The CVB will welcome another 500 hotel rooms to Victoria within 18 months, which should open up overnight stay options for travelers to Victoria. The CVB will continue to establish its Partners in History concept with regional travel opportunities for visitors to Victoria. The CVB will also complete a Wayfinding Project for Victoria, install six historical interpretive displays and construct a new welcome sign for the city.

Parks Department - Lone Tree Creek Park and the Amphitheatre Stage at Ethyl Lee Tracey Park will debut soon. The Nature Trail in Riverside Park will be paved and improvements to Fox's Bend are planned to allow more access for vehicles and park patrons. A new "Park Ambassador" program will debut this year to improve customer service and security in Riverside Park.

Library - Exterior lighting on the outside of the building will improve nighttime safety for library patrons. The library will substantially increase its budget for e-books and make further improvements to the Children's Area.

Public Works Department - Will complete the conversion of all 23,000 manually-read water meters to automatic-reading meters by this summer.

Development Services Department - Will add one more code enforcement officer to respond to code enforcement violations. In partnership with the Victoria Appraisal District, new aerial photographs of the city will be taken to reflect the city's recent growth and to facilitate further development.

Police Department - The 9-1-1 response center will add one additional employee to better handle the large volume of emergency calls into the center.

Fire Department - Will purchase a new fire rescue truck with compressed air-refill capability, equip firefighters with larger capacity air tanks, purchase a new ambulance and reactivate the popular Fire Prevention Program for school groups using the Fire Safety Scouts.

O.C. Garza is the communications director for the city. If you have questions about any of these projects, call the Communications Office at 485-3110 or send him an email at pio@victoriatx.org.

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