Water amenities

The Little Elm Town Council is expected to vote on its tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year Tuesday.

The town is proposing a rate of $0.649.702 per $100 valuation, a slight decrease from the 2019-20 tax rate of $0.6499.

The council was unable to vote on the tax rate last week when it approved the budget because the certified property values had not been released to the town at that point.

“The town, along with all municipalities, received certified totals on Sept. 18,” Town Manager Matt Mueller said. “The town recalculated the tax rate based on the truth in taxation rate laws and not exceeding the 3.5% maintenance & operations rate increase as outlined in Senate Bill 2.”

Budget

On Sept. 15 the council approved its 2020-21 budget of $96.6 million, which is down from $99.2 that was approved for 2019-20.

However, there is a 9.9 percent increase ($5.5 million) from last year on the operational side. Total revenue will exceed total expenditures by $7 million. 

The general fund includes $42.7 million in expenditures, an increase of $3 million from 2019-20. Public safety makes up the largest portion of expenditures at $24.3 million, or 61 percent.

General fund revenue is projected at $39 million, a $2 million increase, or 5.4 percent, from 2019-20.

Property tax revenue is projected to be up $1.5 million, or 7 percent from last year. Sales tax is up 14 percent.

That gives the town an ending fund balance of $17.3 million, which is 40.5 percent of operating expenditures. The town’s legal reserve requirement is 25 percent.

The budget also includes a list of projects in the coming year.

Among the largest projects is The Cove at The Lakefront, the $23 million, 42,000-square-foot aquatic center that is expected to be complete by early 2021.

The Cove at The Lakefront is expected to include a double FlowRider indoor wave surfing machine, slides, an activity pool, two lap lanes, a large play structure and a splash pad. It will have a retractable roof and sides to keep patrons comfortable in any weather. There will be a mezzanine terrace, outside patios and a cabana. Concessions will also be available for purchase.

Other projects include improvements to Cottonwood Creek Park. The first phase includes concrete trails, day use and signature pavilions, lawn games, a restaurant building with a deck, a playground with a pavilion, restrooms, parking, lighting and landscaping. The design is expected to begin in the fall with the bulk of the work taking place in 2021-22. The total project cost is $4.4 million.

The town is expected to complete the Button Street reconstruction project in 2021. The road is the last street between Eldorado Parkway and Main Street that hasn’t been upgraded from asphalt to concrete. The $1.2 million project includes the reconstruction of a 31-foot curb and gutter concrete street with sidewalks.

The town is also moving forward with the McCord Park reuse water line improvements. The town will install 5,600 feet of 8-inch reuse water lines from the 100,000 reuse water tank at the water treatment plant to near the splash pad on Witt and Kings roads. This will provide irrigation services using treated effluent to the southern side of town that doesn’t already receive it. That project is expected to go to bidding by the end of the year. 

“Using this water source reduces the amount of water discharged from the town's wastewater treatment plant, lowers the reliance and cost of using potable water purchased from other providers, and improves our resilience to prolonged drought events common in North Texas,” the town stated. “The project will provide a consistent supply of treated wastewater for irrigation to over 110 acres of parkland, local school sports fields, roadway medians, and public green spaces, saving approximately 255 acre-feet of imported potable water annually.”

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