ARTICLE V & VI

 

ARTICLE V FINANCIAL PROCEDURES

Section 5.01 Fiscal Year

The fiscal year of the City shall be established by ordinance.

Section 5.02 Submission of Budget and Budget Message

No later than forty-five (45) days prior to the close of the fiscal year, the Mayor shall submit to the City Council a budget for the ensuring fiscal year and an accompanying message.

Section 5.03 Budget Message

The Mayor’s message shall explain the budget both in fiscal terms and in terms of the work programs. It shall:

(A) outline the proposed financial policies of the City for the ensuring fiscal year;

(B) describe the important features of the budget;

(C) indicate any major changes from the current year in financial policies, expenditures, and revenues, and the reasons for such changes;

(D) summarize the City’s debt position; and

(E) include such other material as the Mayor deems desirable.

5.04   Budget 

(A) The budget shall provide a complete financial plan of all City funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year and, except as required by law or this Charter, shall be in such form as the Mayor deems desirable or the Council may require.

(B) In organizing the budget, the Mayor shall utilize the most feasible combination of expenditure classification by fund, organization unit, program, purpose or activity, and object. It shall begin with a clear general summary of its contents and shall show in detail:

(1) all estimated income, indicating the proposed property tax levy, and all proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the ensuing fiscal year;

(2) comparative figures for actual and estimated income and expenditures of the current fiscal year;

(3) actual income and expenditures of the preceding fiscal year;

(4) any other item(s) required by State law to be included in the budget.

(C) The budget shall indicate in separate sections;

(1) estimated revenues for operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by source;

(2) proposed expenditures for current operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by offices, departments, and agencies in terms of their respective work programs;

(3) proposed capital expenditures during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by offices, departments, and agencies when practicable, and the proposed method of financing each capital expenditure, and

(4) anticipated net surplus or deficits for the ensuing fiscal year of each enterprise owned or operated by the City and the proposed method of its disposition.

(D) Subsidiary budgets for each enterprise, giving detailed income and expenditure information, shall be attached as appendices to the budget.

(E) The total of proposed expenditures shall not exceed the total of estimated incomes plus any accumulated surplus.

(F) The budget may not include funding for a defined benefits pension plan for City employees unless such plan has first been authorized by the qualified voters of the City. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #4)

(G) The budget may not include funding for the direct costs of providing insurance coverage for persons other than City employees who may be eligible to obtain coverage under any insurance policy offered in whole or in part to City employees as a benefit of employment, unless the payment of such costs is part of a negotiated employment contract with an employee or has first been authorized by the qualified voters of the City. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #4)

Section 5.05 City Council Action on the Budget

(A) The City Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City, the general summary of the budget and a notice stating:

(1) the times and places where copies of the message and budget are available for inspection by the public, and

(2) the time and place for a public hearing on the budget.

(B) After the public hearing, the Council may adopt the budget with or without amending the budget, it may add or increase programs or amounts and may delete or decrease any program or amounts, except expenditures required by law or for debt service, provided that no amendment to the budget shall increase the authorized expenditures to an amount greater than the total of estimated income plus any accumulated surplus.

(C) The Council shall adopt the budget on or before the fifteenth day of the twelfth month of the fiscal year currently ending. If it fails to adopt the budget by this date, the amounts appropriated for current operation for the current fiscal year shall be deemed adopted for the ensuing fiscal year on a month-to-month basis, with all items in it prorated accordingly, until at such time as the Council adopts a budget for the ensuing fiscal year.

(D) Adoption of the budget shall constitute appropriations of the amounts specified therein as expenditures from the fund indicated and shall constitute a levy of the property tax therein proposed, provided that in no event shall such levy exceed the legal limit provided by the laws and Constitution of the State of Texas.

Section 5.06 Budget Amendments After Adoption

(A) All amendments to the budget shall be by ordinance and become an attachment to the original budget.

(B) If during the fiscal year the Mayor certifies that there are available for appropriation revenues in excess of those estimated in the budget, the Council by ordinance may make supplemental appropriations for the year up to the amount of the excess.

(C) To meet a public emergency, as defined by State law, the Council may make emergency appropriations. To the extent that there are no unappropriated revenues to meet such appropriations, the Council may by emergency ordinance authorize the issuance of emergency notes which may be renewed from time to time. The emergency notes and renewal of those notes during any fiscal year shall be paid not later than the last day of the current fiscal year.

(D) If at any time during the fiscal year it appears probable to the Mayor that the revenues available during the current fiscal year will be insufficient to meet the amount appropriated, he shall report to the Council without delay, indicating the estimated amount of the deficit, any remedial action taken, and recommendations as to any other steps to be taken. The Council shall then take such further action as it deems necessary to prevent or minimize any deficit and for the purpose it may by ordinance reduce one or more appropriations.

(E) At any time during the fiscal year the Mayor may transfer part of all of any unencumbered appropriation balance among programs within a department, office, of agency, but no funds may be transferred to increase a salary appropriation without the approval of the Council. Upon written request by the Mayor, the Council may by ordinance transfer part or all of any unencumbered appropriation balance from one department, office, or agency to another.

(F) No appropriation for debt service may be reduced or transferred, and no appropriation may be reduced below any amount required by law to be appropriated or by more than the amount of the unencumbered balance thereof. The supplemental and emergency appropriations and reduction or transfer of appropriations authorized by this Section may be made effective immediately upon adoption.

Section 5.07 Lapse of Appropriations

Every appropriation, except an appropriation for a capital expenditure, shall lapse at the close of the fiscal year to the extent that it has not been expended or encumbered. An appropriation for a capital expenditure shall continue until the purpose of any such appropriation shall be deemed abandoned if three years pass without any disbursement from or encumbrance of the appropriation.

Section 5.08 Capital Program

(A) The Mayor shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, and submit to the Council a three (3) year capital program at least three months prior to the final date for submission of the annual budget.

(B) The capital program shall include:

(1) a clear general summary of its contents;

(2) a projection of revenues and expenditures together with a list or all capital projects which are proposed to be undertaken during the three (3) fiscal years next ensuing, with appropriate supporting information as to the necessity for such improvements.

(3) cost estimates, methods of financing, and recommended time schedules for each such improvements; and

(4) the estimated annual cost of operating and maintaining the facilities to be constructed or acquired.

(C) The capital program shall be revised and extended each year with regard to capital projects still pending or in process or construction or acquisition.

Section 5.09   City Council Action on Capital Projects

(A) The Council shall publish by any contemporary means of information sharing, the general summary of the capital budget and a notice stating:

(1) the times and places where copies of the capital program plan are available for inspection by the public; and

(2) the time and place, not less than two weeks after such publication, for a public hearing on the capital program plan.

(B) The Council by resolution shall consider the adoption of the capital program plan with or without amendment after the public hearing and on or before the fifteenth (15) day of the twelfth (12) month of the current fiscal year.

 (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #3)

Section 5.10 Public Records

Copies of the budget and the capital program as adopted shall be public records and shall be available to the public at suitable places in the City.

Section 5.11 Purchase Procedures

(A) No payment shall be made or obligation incurred against any allotment or appropriation except in accordance with appropriations duly made and unless the Mayor or the Mayor’s designee first certifies that there is a sufficient unencumbered balance in such allotment or appropriation and that sufficient funds are or will be available to cover the claim or meet the obligation when it becomes due and payable.

(B) Any authorization of payment or incurring of obligation in violation of the provisions of this Charter shall be void and any payment so made shall be illegal. Such action shall be cause for removal of any elected or appointed officer who knowingly authorized or made such payment or incurred such obligation, and he or she shall also be liable to the City for any amount so paid.

(C) All purchases made and contracts executed by the City shall be in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas.

Section 5.12 Accounting and Reporting Procedures

The City shall adopt an accounting manual prepared by competent authority which shall provide procedures to be followed in the detail recording and reporting of financial transactions. Changes in such accounting manual may be made, as may from time to time be necessary, by the Mayor, providing such changes are approved in writing by the independent auditor. Accounting controls shall be adequate to protect the assets of the City, but shall not be restrictive beyond the value of the assets being controlled. The Council shall provide for an independent annual audit of the City accounts. Such audits shall be made by a CPA who has no personal interest in the City. The annual audit shall be submitted and reported to the Council.

Section 5.13 Authority to Issue Bonds

The City Council shall have the power and authority to issue all tax bonds, revenue bonds, funding bonds, funding and refunding bonds, warrants, time warrants, certificates of obligation, notes, and other evidence of obligation as may be authorized by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas.

Section 5.14 Authority to Levy Taxes

(A) The City has the authority to levy taxes unless otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Texas.

(B) Error or defect in the form or preparation of the budget or the failure to perform any procedural requirements shall not nullify the tax levy or the tax rate.

Section 5.15 Collection of Taxes

(A) The Mayor may, subject to approval by a majority of the full City Council, appoint an individual as City Tax Collector to collect taxes. The Tax Collector shall be given a fidelity bond, the cost to be borne by the City. The amount of such bond shall be set by the Council, but shall not be less than the amount of tax collections under his or her control at any one time.

(B) As an alternative to appointing a City Tax Collector, the City Council may contract with the City of El Paso Tax Assessor-Collector to collect taxes for the City.

(C) All taxes due the City shall be payable at the office of the designated Tax Collector or Assessor-Collector.

(D) Due date for the taxes to be paid without penalty and the penalty and interest charged for late payment shall be in accordance with the Texas Property Tax Code and any other applicable laws of the State of Texas.

Section 5.16 Cash Reserve Fund

A cash reserve fund in the general operating fund of the City shall be maintained in an amount no less than eight percent (8%) of the prior year’s adopted general fund operating expenditure budget. The cash reserve fund shall be maintained and reported as restricted under applicable Governmental Accounting Standards Board rules and must be invested in accordance with the laws of Texas. Short term borrowing from the cash reserve fund shall be for a period of no more than one calendar year and must be approved by the Council. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #4)

Section  5.17 Lease and Lease Purchase.

The City may execute, perform, and make payments under a contract with any person for the use, purchase or other acquisition of any real or personal property, or the financing thereof, including a lease, a lease with an option or option to purchase, an installment purchase or other form considered appropriate by the Council. (Amended 11/5/2013: Amendment #4)

ARTICLE VI ELECTIONS

Section 6.01 Regular Elections

Annual City elections shall be held on the first Saturday in May, or on the closest date to the First Saturday in May permitted by the laws of the State of Texas.

Section 6.02 Qualified Voters

All citizens residing in the City and otherwise qualified by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas to vote in the City shall be qualified voters of the City.

Section 6.03 Regulation of Elections

All municipal elections shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the general laws of Texas regulation the holding of elections. The City Council shall have the power to make rules and regulations consistent with this Charter or the general laws of this State for the conduct of elections or for the prevention of frauds in elections.

Section 6.04 Filing for Office

(A) Any qualified citizen who desires to become a candidate for City office shall file with the City Clerk a signed application for his or her name to appear on the ballot. This application must be filled in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas.

(B) In addition to all General Requirements for Application for a place on the ballot as specified in the Texas Election Code, or any other requirements specified in the Constitution and the laws of the State of Texas, a candidate must possess the qualifications specified in Section 3.02, paragraph (A) of this Charter.

(C) Any elected City official who applies to become a candidate for an elected office, for an agency, board or district which is directly involved in taxing, providing services, or establishing schools within the Town of Horizon City or any elected City official which becomes a candidate for a place other than the one currently held automatically resigns if the scheduled term of the office or place currently held would overlap with the one for which the application is being made.  The resignation must be announced at least thirty (30) days prior to the filing deadline for the position sought.  The resignation will automatically take effect no later than the date of the related election.  Any vacancy created by such resignation shall be filled in accordance with section 3.06 of the City Charter or at the related election. (Amended 5/07/05: Amendment #9)

Section 6.05 Election by Plurality

At any regular or special election for the City Council, including the office of Mayor, the candidate for each position or place who shall receive the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected.