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The Marble Falls City Council voted 4-2 at its Tuesday, July 6, regular meeting to re-establish an accounting supervisor position to serve the city’s growing population. City staff aims to fill the position by September of this year. 

The account supervisor will assist Director of Finance Jeff Lazenby in managing the city’s accounting functions, which are due to increase as around 3,000 new housing units are built in the Thunder Rock and Gregg Ranch subdivisions, the largest of several housing projects underway in the city limits. Currently, five staff members work in the city’s financial department. 

The city defunded the position in 2009 because of budget constraints. The position needs to be reinstated, Lazenby told the council, to deal with upcoming increases in the number of utility accounts spurred by new developments.

“A lot of cities that are reaching this population threshold that we’re at do have accounting supervisors,” Lazenby said.

The anticipated salary for the position is $80,000 with an additional $20,000 budgeted toward employee benefits. If hired by September, $8,333 of the salary will be paid from the 2020-21 fiscal year budget. The remaining salary costs would be reallocated during the next fiscal year, Lazenby said. 

The necessity of the proposed position was discussed at length by councilors during the meeting. 

“You don’t need this person right now,” Councilor Reed Norman said. “We’re not going to have all these houses out here this year. It’s definitely something to look at, but, for right now, I’m not for it.”

“It’s kind of like the wastewater plant,” Councilor Dave Rhodes countered. “We can sit here and hold our breath, but we’ve got to do something. When do we do something and at what level? We’ve got to answer those questions.” 

Norman suggested it might be more important to first fill other vacant city positions. He pointed out the assistant chief of police position is currently vacant at the Marble Falls Police Department following Chief Glenn Hanson’s promotion. 

Mayor Richard Westerman responded in favor of hiring the accounting position.

“I know the constraints the (finance department) is under,” Westerman said. “As the city grows, as those houses come online and we have to increase fire and public safety, more taxes will be collected as the time passes.” 

“We’re spending now though,” Norman countered.

Councilors Norman and Craig Magerkurth voted against hiring the position. 

brigid@thepicayune.com