MIDLOTHIAN

The Midlothian City Council presented its 2018-19 operating budget during a meeting Tuesday evening, setting it into motion to be adopted later in the year.

City manager Chris Dick presented the figures on the changes from the previous fiscal year, which included significant increases with the tax base, which grew from a 10.65 percent increase last year to a 22.16 percent increase this year.

Dick said that puts the City of Midlothian's certified taxable assets just under $3.7 billion.

The 2018-19 budget proposes $33.3 million in expenditures — an 8.7 percent increase from last year’s $30.6 approved budget. The most substantial expenditures are related to personnel services and road rehabilitation, with another portion of the budget going towards purchasing replacement city vehicles and reinstate an administrative assistant.

As of Tuesday’s meeting, Dick said the budget aims to maintain the current tax rate at $0.07082 per $100 valuation, but that can potentially change in the fall. The council will conduct a budgeting workshop on Friday and workshops throughout August until September 11, where they will hold a second hearing and adopt the budget and tax rate.

FALL WINE & ARTS FESTIVAL

The council also approved a resolution authorizing the Fall Wine & Arts Festival with one provision: they denied overflow wineries placed in the streets within festival grounds.

After polling businesses from previous festivals, Midlothian Chamber of Commerce President Cammy Jackson said respondents criticized long lines, prolonged wait times, and overcrowding in participating stores. To address this complaint, Jackson proposed putting wineries in the streets to mitigate overflow.

Jackson said since property owners have to grant permission to wineries to operate in their businesses, the city similarly needs to permit wineries to work in the streets.

Place three council member Jimmie McClure proposed a motion to authorize the Fall Wine & Arts Festival without the overflow provision, but the city will investigate their insurance policy to look at using the streets for overflow next year. The resolution was approved 5-2 with council members Wayne Sibley and Art Bierrard voting against.

“I think there’s a way to accomplish it,” Dick said. “We just need to look into what all needs to be done to accomplish it.”

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David Dunn, @DavidDunnInTX

469-517-1456