Friday, May 19, 2017 | 2 a.m.
The Henderson City Council on Tuesday approved its $541 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. It also decided how it will handle an upcoming vacancy on the board.
Few changes were made from the tentative budget, which was considered by the council last month. The biggest change: A new fire station set to open this fall in the master-planned community of Inspirada will be fully staffed. Originally, the city's finance staff had budgeted for nine of the dozen positions requested by the fire department, but several council members instructed them to find the funding.
“We want to make sure our firefighters are safe,” said Councilwoman Gerri Schroder, adding that the fully staffed station will ensure safety in the growing area of West Henderson.
In addition to the dozen positions at the new fire station, the city will create 46 other positions. That includes 30 new police officers (25 funded through the 2016 Crime Prevention Act), three public works positions, and nine positions in development services.
On the revenue side, Henderson expects to bring in $67.3 million in property taxes during the upcoming fiscal year. That’s a 4.9 percent increase over the current fiscal year and matches the amount brought in for 2011. Still, it is noticeably below the 2009 peak of $83.4 million.
Meanwhile, consolidated tax is projected to bring in $107.8 million — a 5 percent increase over the current fiscal year. That amount is already above pre-recession levels.
Henderson City Council also on Tuesday decided it will accept applications and appoint someone to its Ward 2 seat, which will become vacant once current Councilwoman Debra March is sworn in as mayor on June 20.
March was elected mayor during the April 4 municipal primary election. In municipal primaries, if a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, he or she wins outright without a runoff election. March secured 55 percent of the vote, defeating city employee Rick Workman.
March replaces current Mayor Andy Hafen, who was term-limited.
A special election for Ward 2 would be costly — $365,000 for physical vote centers and $509,000 for an all-mail ballot. Hafen said he could not justify that cost to the taxpayers, and the rest of the council agreed.
The appointment through application process will run $165, the cost of posting a legal notice in a local newspaper.
Applications — called “interest packets” by the city — will be accepted May 22-25. From them, council members will select their two top candidates, and those finalists will be interviewed during a special public meeting on June 15.
Finally, on June 20, after March has become mayor and the Ward 2 vacancy is official, the council will discuss the nominees and appoint someone to the position.
By law, the vacancy must be filled by Aug. 19.