I believe that being a good mayor means listening to you, the citizens and taxpayers of Stephenville, about your ideas on ways to make our beautiful city an even better place to live, work and raise our families.

Each year about this time, the city staff and council begin the long process of developing the budget for the coming fiscal year. We always begin by seeking input from our citizens (http://www.stephenvilletx.gov/citizen-budget-requests/). That is where the listening comes in! Citizens still have time to submit their suggestions about how best to invest the precious taxpayer dollars we receive.  

In any business or personal budget there is always more to do than is affordable. Here are some of the projects being considered for the next fiscal year. It is our wish list. Some things are must dos and some are like to dos. I hope that you will take the time to weigh in and let us know which projects you would prioritize, which should go to the bottom of the list, and which, if any, should be eliminated from future consideration.

One of the largest city projects in years and something I consider to be a must do will be the eastside sewer.

As discussed in different forums, this project will require the city to spend over $17 million to relieve sewer pressures from the north side of the city and allow for expanded service to the east side of Stephenville.

A few years ago, the city purchased a 536-acre ranch southeast of the city to ensure future adequate water supply for the city. The city plans to begin the development of that ranch into a well field. That project will cost about $2 million.

Other water and sewer line rehabilitation projects will cost about $1.5 million.

Our Waste Water Treatment Plant’s regular maintenance will be between $120,000 and $500,000.

Street maintenance will again cost about $1 million.

Anyone who has been at our landfill recently knows it’s filling up fast. We plan to begin construction on two new cells to expand our capacity for several more years. That expansion will cost about $450,000.

Then there are other projects under consideration. They include:

Library remodeling - $150,000.

Improvements to the city parks - $700,000.

Maintenance at Fire Station #1 - $25,000.

Police and Fire Department equipment - $160,000.

I consider these to be budget priorities, but we have other big decisions to make on things like employee wages, future economic development opportunities, Harbin Drive rehabilitation between West Washington Street and the Northwest Loop, finishing the Bosque River Trail, and many others.

I want to thank city staff, especially our city manager Allan Barnes and his executive team for working with the council to bring forth a fiscally prudent budget for consideration.

Now, it’s your turn to weigh in. I am anxious to hear your thoughts, ideas, and concerns.

I am confident that by working together as a community, we will ensure that Stephenville continues to be one of the best cities in Texas.

Doug Svien is the mayor of Stephenville. His column will run monthly in the Empire-Tribune.