San Benito City Commission takes another look at the design for the city’s new cultural museum today

SAN BENITO — The museum is back on the agenda for tonight.

During the city’s regular meeting, commissioners may or may not approve a design change.

According to the agenda which is posted online, commissioners, along with an update on museum plans, will deliberate on the possible changes.

Earlier this year, commissioners approved a design proposal for the museum from architect Steve Tillotson from Munoz and Company, an engineering firm from San Antonio.

The designs were presented by Meg Jorn, architect and president of Megamorphosis Design, which features a guitar-shaped entrance that fronts Heywood Street.

The museum will be located at the corner of East Heywood Street and North Crockett Street.

The San Benito History Museum, the Freddie Fender Museum and the Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame and Museum will be part of the much larger cultural plaza.

While presenting to the commission earlier this year, Jorn discussed the museums located in the Rio Grande Valley and how this museum in particular would set San Benito apart from the others.

The design shows a sleek guitar-shaped building. However, that may change tonight.

During this evening’s meeting, commissioners will also adopt its new budget and tax rate.

Once the approval of the 2016-2017 budget is finalized, the city will be closer to its long-term fiscal goals.

The city will be able to likely boost its reserves and give employees up to a 2.5-percent wage increase.

The new $12 million budget has a new item — raises.

It will have a revenue surplus of about $178,000 before the planned employee raises.

The raises are expected to take up about $158,000 of that surplus.

During the budget planning stages, officials agreed to earmark that money specifically for future employee raises to be analyzed at a later time.

The budget also ensures the city has enough reserve cash in the bank to operate for 110 days, at $35,000 per day.

Residents who wish to read the proposed budget can find a copy online at the city of San Benito’s website.

City officials urge all residents to download a copy and if they have any questions to call the city.

The tax rate is proposed to remain unchanged.

However, the proposed tax rate exceeds the effective rate of about $0.721, which would be the rate needed to raise the same amount of property tax revenue as the previous year.

The city has among the highest tax rates in the Rio Grande Valley.

Despite the tax rate remaining steady, most people will still see a slight increase in their bills for the city’s portion.

That’s because it’s likely their property value increased.

In 2014, the average value of a home was $60,837. With the same tax rate of $0.728125, the amount of taxes imposed on a home at that appraisal would have been $442.97.

This year, the average value of a home has gone up to $66,454. Now that the city is considering the same tax rate, the amount of taxes imposed this year on the average home would be $483.78.

In addition, commissioners will recognize the new San Benito Police Chief Michael Galvan, who was officially named head of the department at the beginning of the month.

Galvan had been serving as interim after former Police Chief Martin Morales left in February.

He is a 16-year veteran with the San Benito Police Department.