In Mayor Friedberg’s latest blog post he talks about the need for “tax rate sensitivity” after Hurricane Harvey had devastating effects on so many residents.
The Mayor states that “the proposed budget reflects our serious commitment to flood mitigation, and continued tax rate sensitivity especially as so many have been hit with significant financial burdens from the storm. Specifically, it would not raise any new property tax revenues from existing property (i.e., it would maintain the effective tax rate). It also puts on hold the water and sewer rate increases that would otherwise be phasing in this coming year.”
After Harvey, one primary budget focus is on drainage and the “the major north/south arterials that collect and carry storm water out of the city.” The Mayor explains “while the current Bonds for Better Bellaire 2016 program funds $20 million of street and drainage improvements over three years, the present thinking is to double that pace of work in a successor 2019 bond program. That approach would fulfill one of the key takeaways coming out of the Flood Hazard Mitigation Task Force, that we should aggressively continue and accelerate improvements to our local drainage systems.”
For those worried about more debt for the City, Mayor Friedberg says “Our projected overall indebtedness would not be affected because the additional $20 million necessary to fund twice as many street and drainage projects would be diverted from the Capital Improvement Program for Evergreen Park, the Library and Public Works building, all of which would be deferred as our greater emphasis is on flooding as our highest priority.”
Read the Mayor’s full blog post HERE.