Update for April 24, 2014

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Warrant Roundup deemed a success; city’s share will total more than $18K

By William Hoover
Anvil Herald Correspondent

As part of his report to council, City Manager Jeff Litchfield last week presented the results of a recent warrant roundup conducted by the city on March 22. The roundup was an effort to clear a backlog of warrants issued by Hondo Municipal Court for code and traffic violations.

Each year, entities in the State of Texas participate in the Great Texas Warrant Round-Up. The roundup provides an opportunity for each jurisdiction to serve outstanding warrants and capitalize on statewide advertising, according to Litchfield.

“There were three significant events that occurred prior to the March 22 round-up date,” he said. “There was state-wide advertising in local newspapers and on television stations. The Hondo Police Department began a ‘Knock and Talk’ process in February, where they reached out to local folks who had outstanding warrants. Also, the city’s collection agency sent letters to 646 individuals who had outstanding warrants with the city.”

As a result, from Feb. 15 to April 7, the city collected a total of $42,261.46 by clearing 138 of 344 outstanding warrants. Another 101 warrants were dismissed. Of the total collected, $16,806.14 went to the state, $17,760.18 went to the city’s general fund and $889.50 went to the city’s security / technology fund.

In addition, Litchfield said the city’s collection agency, Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson, reported $17,059 was collected as a result of the 646 letters they had mailed out to individuals with outstanding warrants.

“In closing, we have spent quite a bit of time working to improve our Municipal Court process. We believe the results of those efforts will soon be evident in our operations,” he told council.

The city manager also had Rick Taylor Recreation Center Manager Karissa Tellez review user fees at the center compared to other similar fitness centers in the county.

The Rec Center manager suggested annual fees be increased by 30% across the board in the 2014-15 fiscal year. The current annual family membership fee is $50 for residents and $85 a year for nonresidents. A single adult membership is currently $40 a year for residents and $65 a year for non-residents.

Tellez presented a market comparison of rates showing the Rick Taylor Center had the lowest rates in the county—with similar facilities having annual fees ranging from $120 to $410.

She said the modest 30% fee increase would only boost the daily cost of an adult membership for residents from 11 cents a day to 14 cents a day. Tellez also suggested the daily fee for residents and nonresidents be increased to a flat $4 a day, instead of $2 a day for residents and $3 a day for non-residents.

“I want to concentrate on increasing fees just for adults and families,” said Tellez, noting child and youth rates would remain unchanged. “Because we are a youth recreation facility, it is important to keep our rates low and affordable. Compared to other centers similar to ours, our rates are considerably lower.”

“The 30% increase would move our adult membership from $40 to $52 for the year, which you’ll notice is still very low,” she added. “It is actually a significant increase for our members when we have not had an increase in the past seven years.”

As the final part of his report, Litchfield reported the results of council’s recent refinancing of $1,672,000 in Certificates of Obligation originally issued in 2005.

“We negotiated the refunding with four banks and we actually managed a little bit more savings than anticipated,” he said. “We have a net savings of $128,000 with present value savings of $110,000, for a saving ratio of 7.08%.

“We negotiated a 2.6717% interest rate for the 10-year term, so we are very pleased.”



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