Bellaire City Council roundup: Council approves budget, lump-sum payment for overpaid sales tax

Bellaire City Council approved its FY 2021-22 budget on Sept. 20. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Bellaire City Council approved its FY 2021-22 budget on Sept. 20. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

Bellaire City Council approved its FY 2021-22 budget on Sept. 20. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Bellaire City Council approved a number of items during its Sept. 20 meeting, including its fiscal year 2021-22 budget and a lump-sum payment to fund Bellaire’s overpaid sales tax.

Budget breakdown

After a budget public hearing and four budget workshops dating back to Aug. 9, the Bellaire City Council approved the fiscal year 2021-22 budget in a 4-2 vote.

General fund revenues totaled almost $23.2 million, and expenditures came in shy of $23 million, both increases compared to the previous year, according to Bellaire budget data.

For general fund revenues, one key to the increase lies with a nearly $739,000 projected increase in property tax revenue. This is despite the proposed tax rate of $0.4473 per $100 of assessed value—the same rate as the past two years, according to budget documents.

Another key lies with a $490,000 revenue increase based upon departmental cost recovery recommendations from a cost allocation plan and user fee study. That study, performed by an independent accounting firm and presented to the city council on July 19, estimated that Bellaire is under-recovering for its fee-related services by more than $4.2 million.

A final component of the increased revenue comes in the form of a recommended $448,000 increase in an annual enterprise fund to general fund transfer that the city performs to help pay for administrative staff who handle the enterprise fund’s billing needs.

That transfer had been $624,000 each year, but according to the user fee study, it would need to be bumped up to $1.072 million to adequately pay for the needed support costs.

Because water bills significantly support the enterprise fund, an increase in the money needed for that fund necessitates an increase in fees, according to city officials. As part of the FY 2021-22 budget, the Bellaire City Council approved a 9% increase in its water rate for residents, and 7% increases in wastewater and solid waste rates.

Another 10 items saw increases in year over year cost totaling close to $1.4 million. Included in that list are a $165,200 increase in health insurance costs for city employees, a $350,000 increase to the city’s fleet fund and approximately $330,000 in pay plan salary adjustments for the city’s employees.

An amendment offered for the budget had to do with these salary adjustments when Council Member Nathan Wesely proposed that 100% of the proposed adjustments go to those making less than $40,000 a year, 0% to those making greater than $80,000, and proportionally for those making between the two salaries. Ultimately, the motion failed 4-2.

While the City Council has approved the budget, it has not officially approved its tax rate for the FY 2021-22 tax year and will hold a public hearing on Oct. 4 to do so.

Overpaid sales tax

The city of Bellaire will pay $507,000 to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to cover the cost of overpaid sales tax revenue to the city.

The Bellaire City Council unanimously approved the payment to be made in one lump sum, rather than monthly payments, citing a 2% advance payment discount from the comptroller’s office.

That means instead of the nearly $695,000 the city owed the comptroller’s office, it will instead pay $682,574. The $507,000 requested by the city for approval was the difference between the total owed and the $175,000 that was already appropriated for sales tax repayments in FY 2020-21, according to city documents.

The notice of the overpayment from the comptroller’s office originally came in May 2020 after an address on a sales tax permit that was originally registered in Bellaire was never changed over to a city of Houston address after the owner moved, according to the comptroller’s office.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


Amazon is hiring for thousands of seasonal jobs statewide across its operations department. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon hiring for thousands of seasonal jobs throughout Texas

It is that time of year when people look for seasonal jobs as the holidays approach. Amazon aims to meet that demand by hiring for thousands of seasonal positions throughout Texas.

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Friso and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

Artist Joni Zavitsanos is looking to bring faces to the names of those who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with her exhibit that will be on display through Jan. 31. (Courtesy Joni Zavitsanos)
Commemorative COVID-19 exhibit opens at The Health Museum

Houston-area residents who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are being memorialized in a new exhibit now on display at John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Science in Houston.

From left: Laura Ryan, Eliza Paul and Craig Raborn discuss the future of the Texas Department of Transportation. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Department of Transportation discusses I-45 expansion, vehicle fatalities at annual event

The Texas Department of Transportation held its fifth annual State of TxDOT event Oct. 21 to discuss the I-45 expansion, plans for the future and safety issues facing Texans.

Sweet Paris will relocate from its current location in Rice Village. (Courtesy Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café)
Crepe-focused Sweet Paris to relocate within Rice Village

Sweet Paris will move to a new space at 5411 Morningside Drive.

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.

The official name of a new state-of-the-art library in the Westbury area set to replace the old Meyer Branch Library will be named after NASA astronaut Shannon Walker. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Upcoming Westbury-area library named after local NASA astronaut

The Dr. Shannon Walker Neighborhood Library received official approval from Houston City Council during its meeting Oct. 20.

Winter Wanderland is coming soon to downtown Houston’s Bagby Street corridor. (Courtesy Houston Downtown Management District)
New downtown holiday attraction coming soon to Bagby Street corridor

Winter Wanderland will comprise more than 100,000 LED lights installed between Lamar and Franklin streets.

Heather Lagrone, Adrienne Holloway, Luis Guajardo, Maya Ford and Charleen Jones sit onstage while Holloway introduces the audience to the Harris County Housing Needs Assessment study on Oct. 19. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kinder Institute housing survey results reveal Harris County's needs

To meet the need for additional, more affordable housing for only 20% of the 500,000 cost-burdened residents, 8,174 housing units would need to be added annually through 2031, according to the study.