The Henderson City Council held their 2019-2020 budget workshop Tuesday afternoon with Jay Abercrombie, City Manager leading the two hour session.
First on the agenda was a presentation from Justin Cure, Information Services Director for the City of Longview about Henderson entering into a possible agreement using the GTS (Geographical Information Systems) and City Works programs.
“We have been using this system in Longview for ten years now and Kilgore has been using it for six and a half years,” said Cure.
Abercrombie said, “This map system has everything a city needs to operate more efficiently.”
According to Abercrombie the City of Henderson needs a GIS platform for mapping in all departments within the city. Entering into this agreement with Longview will give the city access to a well-respected IT Department that has the ability to build and maintain the city’s GID platform.
Using this system will allow mapping of specific points to be loaded, digitally, in a system that can overlay on a map such as Google Maps to be used during everyday course of business within the city.
Normal projects and work orders will be able to use the mapping of addresses for business, residents, streets, water lines, water valves, fire hydrants, signage, facilities and much more.
Using this system will reduce the time and paper needed to plan projects and complete tasks, resulting in saved tax dollars.
City Council member Michael Searcy and Community Development Director Billy Hughes both agreed that the city needed the GTS.
Initially the cost to the city will be $60,000, annually, with another $40,000 plus for other needed components once the system is in place.
The Council approved the item during their regular meeting later that evening. Before implementation of the GTS, the Longview City Council has to approve it.
Other items discussed during the budget workshop were the tax rate, water and sewer rates and employee merit raises.
Abercrombie gave a slide presentation to the Council showing tax rate comparisons of other cities in East Texas. Out of 24 cities, Henderson placed number 20 for the lowest tax rate as it relates to the combined rate. It was also pointed out that Henderson has not had a tax rate increase for 14 years.
Also discussed was the need to raise water and sewer rates and a pay raise, up to three-percent to qualifying employees after reviews.
The regular Council meeting convened immediately after the budget workshop where two public hearings took place for the annual budget and tax rate. No citizens commented during the public hearings.
The next public hearing will be held at a special called meeting at 5 p.m. Aug. 27, at City Hall where citizens will have another opportunity to comment on the budget and tax rate.