Curbside recycling is coming to Kaufman. At Monday night’s city council meeting, councilors approved a contract with Recylops to offer twice-monthly curbside recycling pickup to trash customers who want to pay extra for the service.

The monthly residential fee is $10, and there is a $10 enrollment fee to start. A roll of bags that holds recyclables is $10 for 104 bags. Businesses can enroll by contacting the recycling company directly.

“It’s a great opportunity at a fair cost,” City Manager Mike Slye told the council members, noting that 40 residential customers had signed up for the service during the first three days it was offered, and 100 are needed to get it up and running. 

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Also at Monday’s meeting, Slye said Houston Street will be paved in time for the neighborhood’s massive Halloween celebration. The street project won’t be completely finished until after Oct. 31, but there will be enough paving for children and families to get around safely for trick-or-treating, he said.

Council members also heard some good news regarding tax revenues for the city. 

In a 7-0 vote, the councilors approved a decrease in the city’s residential property rate, to almost 85 cents per $100 of assessed property value. That’s five cents less than the previous rate, and combined with a five-cent decrease in the county rate, and 10-cent decrease in the school rate, local taxpayers are looking at a total of 20 cents in lower rates this year.

This comes after an increase in property appraisals this spring, which Slye said was needed.

“We have been undervalued for many, many years,” he told the council members. 

Before an earlier vote that evening, Mary Wennerstrom, the city’s finance director, said $62,000 in the city’s property tax revenue is coming from new properties that have been added to the tax base. 

Slye said infrastructure is being built quickly in the new Georgetown subdivision, and the city issued 11 building permits in one day for homes to be built there.

“We have never seen that many… in one day,” added Mayor Jeff Jordan.

On another 7-0 vote, councilors approved the city’s $14 million budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. 

The council also approved almost $400,000 in funding for the Kaufman Economic Development Corporation for this fiscal year. In another vote, the council approved a lease agreement between the city and Kaufman Chamber of Commerce for office space in the future Kaufman Civic Center. The city can issue up to $3.5 million in bonds to construct the civic center.

The council approved a resolution expressing support of the Kaufman County bond propositions on the 2019 ballot. If approved by voters, the road and transportation bond will raise $104 million, and another $50 million bond would be used for county facilities.

“These are two needs that are way past due, and they’re not going away,” Jordan said prior to the vote. “They’ve been out of room in county facilities for decades.” And anyone who drives in the county can tell that more road work is needed, he said, noting that the county can leverage the $100 million in road funding to get almost $1 billion in funding from the Texas Department of Transportation.

If it’s not spent locally, the state will spend that $900 million elsewhere. 

“Let’s get ‘em to spend it in Kaufman County,” Jordan said in urging voters to vote yes on the issue.

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