San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

September 15th, 2008
New city manager to debut at Buda council meeting


BUDA – The Buda City Council will break in a new city manager this week, when Kenneth Williams conducts his first council meeting Tuesday night.

Williams started in his position on Sept. 10 as the first city manager hired under a home rule charter passed last November. The previous city manager, Robert Camareno, resigned in February to take a position in New Braunfels.

Buda officials spent six months searching for a new city manager before settling on Williams, who spent most of his career as an administrator in Lufkin before operating as the city manager in Diboll for the last two years.

Williams’ first agenda will formalize items that have been under council consideration for months, including a new budget and tax rate.

The city is budgeting for $14.4 million total, to include 4.1-percent salary increases and funding for four new patrol officers for the city’s department of the Hays County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in April 2009, after the council releases that funding.

The city council is expected to approve a tax rate of 22.5 cents per $100 of value, which would increase the tax rate by 3.8 cents. The staff originally slashed $1 million from the budget to come in with a recommendation of 25 cents, but council prevailed on staff to make further cuts.

Sarah Mangham, the city finance director and, until recently, the interim city manager, will be the staff point person for most of the agenda items, including final approval of city budget and purchasing policies.

Williams will conduct discussion on the final item, which concerns finding a replacement for former municipal court judge Bill Creech, who resigned on Aug. 31. As the court now doesn’t have a judge, it is, in effect, shut down for the time being. The court can only take payments from already pleaded cases, but it can’t issue summons or warrants, grant defensive driving or establish new payment plans.

Without an acting judge, the city staff estimates a 90-percent decrease in court revenue. Williams will ask the council how it wants to proceed in replacing Creech, who had served as municipal judge for 20 years.

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