ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Facing a $3.1 million deficit, the Abilene City Council revisited proposed budget cuts for fiscal year 2021 on Thursday.
City Manager Robert Hanna has proposed cutting four programs in Abilene.
“In my presentation to council, I went out of my way to say that none of these programs, except maybe the senior transportation, that I would consider a waste of public money,” said Hanna.
The first is the Adaptive Recreation Program, which serves special-needs individuals by providing activities to improve their cognitive and motor skills.
“I do believe there is an opportunity to work with a nonprofit sector, to either stand up or to find another nonprofit that can do the adaptive rec program,” said Hanna.
One organization that says they can help is United Way of Abilene. President Dr. Cathy Ashby told Hanna United Way is willing to help save the Call 211 program.
The next cut would be the Dental Program, which provides free care for low-income residents, something Mayor Anthony Williams says is no longer effective.
“It serves about 12 people, maybe, a week, some of which are inmates at the Taylor County Jail,” said Williams.
The last cut is for the Senior Transportation Program, for which Hanna says CityLink should be able to pick up the slack.
To create new city revenue, Hanna suggested charging league sports players, which Parks and Recreation agrees with.
“A lot of people who live outside city limits play there. They don’t pay property taxes, so charging them more makes a lot of sense,” said Hanna.
Lastly, Hanna suggested charging $2.50 for senior meals.
“You know, the additional $2.50, for meals for seniors, some of those individuals who have worked long and hard in Abilene, Texas, and this may be one of the only meals that they receive that day,” said Williams.
Mayor Williams says he wants to find money elsewhere so the city can still support seniors.
The proposed budget will go to vote during the Dec. 17 city council meeting, at which time citizens will have an opportunity to voice their concerns.