The West Lake Hills City Council unanimously approved its fiscal year 2013 budget at its meeting Sept. 26. The council also voted to keep the 5.34 cent property tax rate from last year.
The $200,000 deficit budget only saw a few changes from previously proposed budgets, cutting the purchase of new police vehicles from two to one, opting to keep the added administrative position and putting in money to purchase a fire monitoring camera system from FireWatch America.
"It is a new and different thing," West Lake Hills Mayor Dave Claunch said of purchasing Chevy Tahoes to replace the current police cruisers. "You don't buy two of something new, you only get one and see how it works."
Council told Cliff Spartlan, West Lake Hills police chief, that if one new vehicle was not enough, he could come to them and ask council to amend the budget.
The adopted budget, which consists of $4,125,158 in expenditures and $3,925,158 in revenue, received much discussion on whether to keep the new finance officer position in the budget.
The position, Claunch told the council, would actually bring the staff back to full strength rather than having the city work short-handed.
Even with a salary of $79,337 Claunch said he thinks the position will be revenue-generating.
Not all members thought that the position would be a good investment for the city this year.
"I think the salary is pretty high," Councilman Taylor Holcomb said. "I would rather bring in someone temporarily and see how much money they are able to generate."
Council also decided to set aside $200,000 to help pay for a FireWatch America fire detection system.
The system, which was developed in Germany, uses a two-sensor camera to relay images to a monitoring station.
The council has not yet finalized a deal with FireWatch and could request the City of Austin and Travis County to also invest in the system.