Proposed Bellaire budget calls for 8% property tax increase

Bellaire residents will vote on Nov. 5, 2019, to elect a mayor and three councilmembers.

Bellaire residents will vote on Nov. 5, 2019, to elect a mayor and three councilmembers.

A proposed budget for FY 2020 in Bellaire calls for an 8% increase in property taxes from existing properties, according to a presentation given by City Manager Paul Hofmann to the city council at its July 15 meeting.

“According to this budget, we’ll end fiscal 20 with a healthy reserve, but we’ll immediately start eroding away that reserve into fiscals 21, 22, 23 and 24. We won’t be balanced in future years without that [increase],” Hofmann said.

The tax increase is planned to help prepare the city’s funding in advance of future limits to property tax increases that come as a result of state legislation passed earlier this year. Starting next year, tax increases beyond 3.5% can be challenged by a petition calling for an election, per the new law.

Even with the 8% property tax increase, city staff’s fiscal forecast shows its 60-day reserve requirements would drop by $440,000 by FY 2024. If the increase was passed with the new state standard of 3.5% instead, the drop was projected to be about $3.61 million. The fund reserve for FY 2019 was about $3.47 million.

If the 8% increase is approved by the council, the average Bellaire homeowner without homestead or senior exemptions is projected to pay $4,272 in property taxes annually, according to city estimates.

“I think I recognize I’m asking you to do a difficult thing,” Hofmann said to the council. “I’m asking you to go to the current max on a property tax rate increase for fiscal '20. … I’m also asking you to make that decision in light of what we think will happen in fiscal 24, and I’m going to do that fully recognizing that none of you will probably be on the city council in fiscal 24, but I am convinced that it is the fiscally correct thing for us to do.”

The budget also proposes an 8% increase in water and wastewater rates, a 3.9% increase in general fund base operating expenditures, a 2% increase in enterprise fund base operating expenditures and a 46% increase from the projected FY 2019 ending balance.

The proposed budget would provide ending balances that exceed the city’s 60-day reserve by about $1.7 million and is focused on long-term goals like the future state of the city’s general and enterprise fund and the possibility of new large-scale bond projects.

“This budget provides almost $1 million in already existing funds for us to get a jump start on the design of projects to be funded in a future bond program,” Hofmann said.

A series of public hearings and budget workshops regarding the proposed budget and tax increase will take place before any action is taken, with Oct. 21 set as the date when the tax increase could be approved by the council.


Snow fell at the Tomball Museum Center in early December 2017 (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Greater Houston area to experience cold front Nov. 11-13; temperature could reach freezing point

The front is not expected to affect travel because the ground is too warm for precipitation to stick.

Drivers on the Grand Parkway will pay higher tolls come Jan. 1, 2020. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Tolls to increase Jan. 1 on the Grand Parkway

Drivers on the Grand Parkway will see toll rates increase 2% on Jan. 1, 2020.

The state has completed its largest-ever performance review of a school district. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislative Budget Board releases performance audit of Houston ISD

The 325-page review calls for a wide range of reforms that could save the district $237 million over five years.

One of the public meetings will be held at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center. (Matt Dulin/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Education Agency to hold public meetings on Houston ISD board of managers

The Texas Education Agency has announced a series of meetings around Houston ISD as part of its process to inform residents ahead of the appointment of a board of managers to replace the elected board of trustees.

Courtesy Jenn Duncan/Politan Row
Houston's Politan Row food hall opens Nov. 9

The food hall boasts nine vendors representing a wide range of culinary styles as well as an agave-focused cocktail bar, Bar Politan.

Rice Village leather goods store Gaspy Collection suddenly closes

The store's message says it is closing to focus on "other parts of our business and mission"

Courtesy New York Deli & Coffee Shop
New York Deli & Coffee Shop will add Bellaire location in 2020

New York Deli & Coffee Shop and The Bagel Shop Bakery, 9720 Hillcroft St., announced Nov. 7 they would expand with a new Bellaire location in fall 2020.

Courtesy Half Price Books
A fixture since 1982, Half Price Books to close Rice Village location

The longtime bookstore has been looking for alternate locations.

Houston ISD board of trustees
Texas Education Agency to install board of managers for Houston ISD: Here's what that means

Here is a breakdown of what this means and what could happen next.

Carrin Patman (center), board chairperson of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, thanks voters for supporting a $3.5 billion bond referendum at a Nov. 6 press conference. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
With bond funding secured, METRO officials announce next steps

With voter approval, METRO is moving forward with plans to bring projects in its long-range transportation plan to life.

Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman
Texas secretary of state refutes Harris County clerk’s claims that state caused election results delay

An explanation for the 12-hour delay in Harris County election results grew more complicated Nov. 6.

TEA ruling on accountability rating appeals
Texas Education Agency denies Houston ISD appeal of accountability rating

The Texas Education Agency will change one of two Houston ISD's accountability ratings that it appealed, but not the one its board of trustees was hoping for.

Back to top