Virtual FY 2021-2022 Budget Town Hall with Answers to Resident Comments and Questions

On Saturday, August 14, 2021, the Duncanville City Council held a Virtual FY 2021-2022 Budget Town Hall. During this Town Hall City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, Interim Finance Director Edena Atmore, and Budget Administrator Jennifer Otey presented the Proposed Budget.

Below the video of the Virtual Town Hall, you will find both questions asked during the Town Hall and the answers to each transcribed.

Q:  How many professional advisors and/or consultants such Freese & Nichols are projected to work for the City in 2021-2022?

Jennifer Otey, Budget Administrator (answered after the meeting’s conclusion): The City anticipates using 20 consultants/advisory firms city-wide.  The City uses consultants and advisors to perform professional services such as CIP design work, annual reports, and services for compliance of mandates, and for services staff cannot do because of lack of expertise or resources. The use of consultants can vary based on need, and not all are guaranteed to be used during the year.

Q: Are there any trends to highlight how property taxes have increased year-over-year because of demographic changes, because there are more residents moving into the city?

Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, City Manager: Property tax trends. As far as our property tax in the North Texas area you will find that values have increased. In fact, if you heard in the beginning, we talked about Senate Bill legislation that was enacted. It actually capped the amount of revenue cities are able to obtain. If you look at this year’s trend you’ll see that our values are increasing – our residents may not be increasing as much in Duncanville, but our values have been increasing throughout the North Texas area.

This year we are seeing about a 10% increase in overall property values in the area. So, that has been a trend that has followed all over the metroplex. So, when you look at your overall values, that’s the number one thing for us.

Q: With regards to the investments, I saw there was a decrease in terms of returns. Is that outsourced to a fixed-income shop or fund management shop that takes care of that for the City?

Edena Atmore, Interim Finance Director: We invest our funds in accordance with the best practices in course for the Public Funds Investment Act. A large part of those investments for the interest rates, because the Fed rate has decreased tremendously in the last year since the pandemic. We’ve seen a decrease in the amount of interest we’re earning off our investments.

We’ve partnered with investment advisors. We have investment advisors called Valley View Consulting and we partner with them in managing that portfolio. So, they may do some solicitations in it and guide us on investments. Then we make the decision and actually do the transaction with their guidance. So, yes, it’s a partnership between us and Valley View Consulting.