No property tax increase planned for next year

HARLINGEN — Officials plan to dip into cash reserves to balance a proposed $41 million general fund budget.

In a workshop Thursday, City Manager Dan Serna told city commissioners he planned to pull $144,807 from the $15.1 million cash reserve to balance next year’s proposed budget.

Officials proposed the budget without a property tax increase.

But the city faces a projected 7-percent increase in health insurance costs and anticipated requests for police and fire department salary hikes, Serna said.

Health insurance costs are expected to jump from $3.7 million this year, Finance Director Elvia Treviño said.

Meanwhile, the local police union is negotiating possible salary increases as part of collective bargaining talks.

“It’s going to be pretty close,” Serna told commissioners, referring to balancing of the proposed budget.

Officials have planned no employee raises.

Serna said he plans to pull $500,000 from the cash reserve to fund a street improvement project.

This year, the city took $500,000 from cash reserves to pay for a $1.5 million in street repairs, Serna said.

Serna said the city does not plan to buy police cars this year.