City of Aledo Mayor Chris Hagloch said the city is looking at a $150,000 deficit in the budget, "could be more", due to lower than projected sales revenue, thanks to COVID-19 - in the general fund during the city meeting Sept. 8.
"Our revenue was short there for sales tax for a couple months, it’s picked back up, We hope it continues, if it does it’ll help us for this year," he said.
The council will begin working on the 2021 budget by mid October. Hagloch has been meeting with the finance director and city administrator to begin the process.
"We’re just trying to be cautious… Tighten down and see how sharp we can make that pencil."
Employee reduction is not on the table, according to Hagloch. "No employees are going to be affected currently, we’re looking at some strategic things."
"Staff does a great job," he said of tightening spending as soon as COVID-19 restrictions hit.
The city was approached by a solar company looking into ground mount solar projects within city limits, according to Public Works Director Justin Blaser. He said the city doesn’t currently have regulations regarding location and composition of solar energy systems. Aldermen voted to begin working on an amendment for city code to include language to address this possible alternative source. The next step is to present the update to the Zoning board of Appeals for review.
Aldermen approved rate relief for businesses who hold a liquor license and were negatively impacted during emergency restrictions. City staff worked with the liquor commissioner to determine which liquor license holders should receive the rate relief - Seven businesses are relieved of half a year’s fees; Beer Belly’s, Cheers on Main, Dancer’s Creek Barn, V.F.W., Oak View Country Club, Ferg’s Public House, Aledo Happy Joe’s, Millennium Lanes, Los Charros and Joe’s Trattoria.
The city will soon be re-branded, following approval of negotiated terms with branding company Haven Creative out of Waxhaw, N.C. The total estimated cost is $18,325. The branding will include message development, logo design and serve as a point of contact to execute the branding project. Aldermen had previously approved spending up to $50,000 on the endeavor. Haven Creative mapped out a six month timeline for the process beginning Sept. 1, through Feb. 1, 2021.
The council also:
-Swore in City of Aledo officer, Andrew Christie. He was hired full time.
-Accepted the resignation of two City of Aledo police officers, Misty Bunker and Nathan Lewis.
-Approved purchase of motors nad pumps for well 4 totaling $30,000.
-Tentatively schedule city-wide fall cleanup for the week of October 19.