La Feria approves a slimmed-down budget

LA FERIA — City leaders are slashing the budget by 25 percent.

Due to concerns raised in a recent city audit — which showed the city operating in the red — city leaders are coming to terms with the reality of having to work with a smaller budget.

Mayor Pro-Tem Eric Hoff called the budget a true budget, but a skinny one.

The budget summary shows La Feria’s total revenues are $4,142,013 and expenditures are $4,448,047.

The decision to approve the 2017-18 budget recently was a unanimous one.

One of the most significant changes in the budget is the loss in revenues from state and federal agencies worth more than $2 million.

“We went by the audit, and I think the budget is going to be hard,” Mayor Olga Maldonado said. “It’s going to be very tough.”

The recent financial audit found the city had a negative fund balance over the past three years.

The search for what was being called “missing money” pitted the current commission against the former city manager. Ultimately, the former city manager, Sunny Philip, said the audit showed there was no missing or unaccounted for money.

However, the city stated that the audit showed the city had overextended itself on capital improvement projects, and because that, the city does not have the reasonable level of funds a city the size of La Feria should have.

“Everything was being put into the general fund,” Maldonado said about the former finance management. “And city funds got depleted.

“It is sad that happened,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado was confident after the city meeting the current commission will continue to move the city forward.

“I think the team has done an awesome job in trying to get things in order and make sure every account should be where it is,” Maldonado said. “You cannot run any department with just one account.

“We are going to be OK,” said Maldonado.

City of La Feria sources of revenues from proposed budget line items.

  • Property taxes, $432,905
  • Sales taxes, $612,246
  • Municipal court fines, $185,000
  • Swimming pool, $25,000
  • Building rental, $28,000
  • Garbage, $680,000
  • Building permits and inspection, $30,000