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City Council recognizes local youth; gives financial update

LeAnda Staebner
E-T Staff
Stephenville Mayor Doug Svien, right, presents a Certificate of Recognition to Kason Prince in this video still from the Jan. 5 Stephenville City Council meeting. Prince has raised more than $36,000 for the Backpack Buddies of Erath County program, which provides meals to food-insecure youth so they don't go hungry over the weekend or when school is not in session.

The Stephenville City Council recognized a local youth for his efforts to raise funds for a non-profit aimed at helping other kids during its regular meeting on Jan. 5.

Kason Prince, of Huckabee, was presented a Certificate of Recognition by Mayor Doug Svien for his work in raising funds for Backpack Buddies of Erath County, a non-profit organization that provides children from food-insecure homes with healthy weekend meals during the school year. 

Prince, an 11-year-old sixth-grader, has raised $36,309.63 since he first made helping the organization his mission on March 31, 2017. He has held a variety of T-shirt and bake sales, among other events, to help raise money for the organization.

Prince said he has been helped a lot by his dad and his mom, whom he said has, "always been by my side." He thanked his parents and other family members for helping him with the project.

In addition to the certificate, Svien awarded Prince a Key to the City of Stephenville.

"Everybody here tonight that's a parent hopes their kids turn out to be as good a kid as you are," Svien said while presenting the award.

In other business, the council heard a monthly financials update from Monica Harris, the city's director of finance.

"Financial indicators are really better than expected in a lot of cases," Harris said as she began outlining the report, which ran through the end of November 2020, the second full month of the city's fiscal year.

• Property taxes

The city received $318,000 in property taxes in the month of November, resulting in $87,000 or a 15.16% increase over funds collected through November 2019. The $657,000 total collected through November is 9.89% of budget, which is lower than the 11.25% anticipated. Harris attributed the lower-than-anticipated property tax intake as most likely being due to impacts of COVID-19, which may be leading to late tax payments.

• Sales tax

The city received $694,000 in sales tax in November 2020, resulting in $87,000 or 14.26% more than the funds collected in November 2019. The $1.3 million collected through November is 21.24% of the $6.23 million budgeted, which is about 3.5% more than anticipated.

• Hotel occupancy tax

Lodging establishments have report $36,523.27 in Hotel Occupancy Taxes through November. The city has spent $99,000 in Hotel Occupancy Tax funds through November as compared to $33,000 last year due to the Day Tripper contract for advertising.

• Revenue (Budgetary comparison)

The target budget for operating revenue is $4.13 million. The city received $4.18 million in revenue through November, resulting in $47,000 over the target budget. This is a result of sales taxes and service charges.

• Expenditures (Budgetary comparison)

The target budget for operating expenditures is $3.76 million. The city expended $3.63 million through November resulting in $135,000 under the target budget.

Revenue (Prior year comparison)

Operating revenue received last year was $4.21 million as compared to the current year's $4.18 million, resulting in a $30,000 decrease. Increases in property tax, sales taxes, and building permits offset most of the reductions in service charges, interest on investments, and other income.

Expenditures (Prior year comparison)

Operating expenditures last year were $3.9 million as compared to the current year's $3.6 million, resulting in a $276,000 decrease. General Fund expenditures decreased $301,000. Harris pointed out the decrease in expenditures is due to it being early in the budget cycle and that expenditures would increase as projects come up.