Getting better in Henrietta: Finances improve, sales tax revenues up

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The City of Henrietta is in better fiscal shape than it has been in years, according to an independent auditor’s report presented to the city council Monday night.

Paul Fleming of Edgin, Parkman, Fleming and Fleming said the city had a “clean” audit with the exception of a few minor journal entries, and has shown improvements in all fund balances, especially in the water and sewer department.

Fleming said the water and sewer fund shows net assets of $2.1 million, of which $1.7 million is investment into upgrades to the water and sewer systems. The water and sewer department has $300,000 in unrestricted funds available. The account showed a deficit as little as two years ago.

The city has a general fund balance of $600,000, Which Fleming noted is $150,000 more than last year. The general fund also showed a deficit not long ago because it had been used to subsidize the water department.

With the water and sewer fund in dire straits, the city raised rates in 2010.

City Administrator Kelley Bloodworth and City Works Director Troy Potts also updated aldermen on the ongoing improvements to the water and sewer plants.

Fleming’s report wasn’t the only good news for city aldermen.

Bloodworth informed the council that Henrietta received $37,500 in sales tax proceeds from November, which is approximately $12,000 more than the monthly average. Bloodworth expects to see another increase in February when the city receives its December revenues from the state. She credited the increase in part to the opening of O’Malley Arms late last year.

“I’m excited about it, and excited to see what it’s doing for us,” said Bloodworth of the revenue increase.

With the City of Wichita Falls considering stage 3 water restrictions, the council discussed Henrietta’s drought contingency plan. Lake Arrowhead is at 40.8 percent capacity.

The City of Henrietta has first right to water in Lake Arrowhead. Because the city’s reservoirs is fead by the Little Wichita River, of which Lake Arrowhead is an impoundment, the City of Henrietta is guaranteed 1,500 acre feet of water to be released by the City of Wichita Falls each year. In 2012, Henrietta needed only 707 acre feet to fill its needs.

Bloodworth applauded the conservation efforts of Henrietta residents. And suggested the council wait until later in the year to put more stringent water rationing into place.

The city of Wichita Falls continues to sell water out of Lake Arrowhead.

“But whether they’re selling it or not, we’re going to have to conserve water,” said Bloodworth. “And our residents are doing that now. Our water usage is way down.”

Aldermen accepted a proposal by the Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce to purchase a new flag and flag stand for the Holman Center. The chamber would retain ownership of the flag, reserving the right to use it at other venues if needed.

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Pioneer Sentinel

The Pioneer Sentinel is an online newspaper designed to deliver the news of Clay County, Texas, in a concise and community-friendly format.

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