Bellaire City Manager Paul Hofmann has outlined a $31.7 million city budget for fiscal year 2015, which would maintain the city’s current tax rate of 39 cents per $100 of property valuation.
Hofmann’s proposed budget is about $1.8 million less than the city’s current budget, because Bellaire spent about $2 million this year to drill new central water well.
The budget plan outlined by Hofmann is his first proposed budget since he was named Bellaire’s city manager earlier this year. Hofmann presented the spending plan to the council Monday night.
The city manager’s proposed budget is aimed at improving public safety, better maintenance of Bellaire’s public spaces, including parks and recreation facilities, and economic development.
The Bellaire City Council will hold several budget workshops, and a public hearing in August, before voting on the budget in early September.
The budget plan outlined by Hofmann is his first proposed budget since he was named Bellaire’s city manager earlier this year.
Although the city’s tax rate will remain at .39 cents per $100 of property valuation, many Bellaire homeowners will face a higher tax bill due to property valuations that increased by an average 13 percent. The Harris County Appraisal District notified homeowners earlier this year about the reappraisal of properties throughout the region.
Property taxes collected in Bellaire would increase by $1.2 million, from $9.1 million this year to $10.3 million next year, according to the proposed budget.
In presenting the budget to the council, Hofmann said it would would provide “the resources to improve neighborhood traffic safety; maintenance of parks, facilities and grounds; responsiveness to citizen’s request; and economic development coordination.”
Hofmann’s proposed budget also calls for restructuring city departments.
“We will enhance our focus on improving the appearance of public property by combining the current Facilities Management and Parks and Recreation Department into one Department of Parks, Recreation and Facilities,” Hofmann explained.
In addition, his plan calls for reshaping the city’s manager’s office to improve “economic development efforts, report on our performance and respond to citizen requests.”
Also, Hofmann told the council that the proposed new budget would improve the city’s response to building inspection demands by “increasing the use of contracted building inspection.”
The proposed spending plan would:
*Increase the city manager’s office budget from $1.8 million this year to $2 million next year;
*Maintain spending in the city’s courts at $1.1 million annually;
*Increase spending for Development Services from $770,000 to $813,000 next year;
*Increase spending for the Bellaire Fire Department from $2.4 million to $2.5 million;
*Provide a slight increase for the Bellaire Police Department, from $4.8 million to $4.9 million;
*Increase funding for the new combined Parks, Recreation and Facilities department from $2.7 million to $3.1 million.
There are 165 full-time staff and 5.5 part time employees in the city of Bellaire, which will be reduced to 164 full-time employees in fy 2015. Longtime Parks and Recreation Department Director Jane Dembski will retire later this year.
The Bellaire City Council will hold several meetings in August to consider the proposed city budget, with a public hearing scheduled for August 18 at 6 p.m. in Bellaire City Hall.
The council will hold a budget workshop on August 19, and a second budget workshop on August 25, if needed. The council will vote on the new city budget on September 8 or September 15, Hofmann said.