As the economy continues to fall, the effects are felt in the pockets of individuals of South Texas. At the Freer City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1, a total of six positions were dissolved.
“We have seen a decline in sales tax and municipal court fees, this last quarter we have seen the largest decline,” said Freer Mayor Fabian Bazan. “We have to plan and budget accordingly to stay ahead.”
Positions cut included one peace officer/detective, two relief dispatchers, two librarians and one person from the street department. A municipal court clerk was reassigned and took on library clerk duties and a patrol officer will be taking relief dispatcher responsibilities.
“It was decided, in a special called meeting to dissolve positions. However, the alderman did what I believe is an honorable thing,” Bazan said. “It was agreed that full-time employees would be compensated until Dec. 30, 2015, as well as, leave their health insurance benefits available until this date.”
According to the mayor, the city council monitored the 2015 budget since June.
“Although, this was not an easy decision for the council to make, it is good business practice to budget accordingly. The city has received slightly over $674,000 in sales tax revenue this year, and thus far, has paid out roughly $669,000 in employee salaries, hourly wages, and benefits,” Bazan stated. “I also believe we have had some inevitable expenses this year, and we have taken care of those, and now if we execute a better planned budget for the fiscal year 2016, we may be able to move forward progressively and finally be able to begin investing back into our city.”
In Dec. 2013, the budget closed with $1,344,490 in revenues, $1,642, 847 in expenditures for the year ending Dec. 31, 2014. The fiscal year 2014, the budget closed with $1,361,342. in revenues, $1,315,144 in expenditures for year ending Dec. 31, 2015.
According to Bazan, the city is spending more money than it has.
The city anticipates to close the 2015 fiscal year budget with $1,174,185 in revenues, approximately $1,199,712, with current dissolved positions, in expenditures for year ending Dec. 31, 2016.