On Sept. 9, the Nassau Bay City Council officially adopted the fiscal year 2019-20 budget, and for the first time since FY 2013-14, Nassau Bay’s property tax rate will drop.

The existing property tax rate was $0.74212 per $100 valuation, which is what the rate has been for six years. The new tax rate will be $0.73212 per $100 valuation—a full cent lower—which is a plus for residents, City Manager Jason Reynolds said.

“We want to do right by them,” he said.

The total 2019-20 budget is $16.33 million, a jump from the FY 2018-19 budget of $13.97 million. In terms of maintenance and operations expenditures, the new budget, which begins Oct. 1, is comparable to the existing budget, Reynolds said.

“It is relatively flat,” he said.

The city found ways to save money without decreasing services, leading to the opportunity to reduce the tax rate.

“We created efficiencies to boost operations without adding cost,” Reynolds said.

Examples include the repurposing of the city’s fleet of vehicles to minimize the need to replace old vehicles. Staff has also begun spraying the city’s more than 100 palm trees with antifungal treatments to minimize the risk of them dying and having to be replaced at $13,000 a piece, which has already happened a few times, Reynolds said.

One challenge Nassau Bay will face is that the city will have to pay $2.8 million to replace the main water line that provides water from Houston to the area. Nassau Bay will borrow money and continue to raise water rates over the next several years to replace the city’s aging infrastructure, but the water main replacement will not cost residents more than the city had originally budgeted for because staff knew this cost would come, Reynolds said.

“It’s all because we’ve had a plan in place to start preparing for these things,” he said.

Another challenge the city will have to address is the replacement of a portion of a wastewater treatment plant damaged during Hurricane Harvey. The city is awaiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reimburse the city for the $300,000 repair, Reynolds said.

The city’s goal is to continue to grow its commercial corridor so that, eventually, residents and businesses each contribute about 50% of the city’s tax revenue. Right now, the split is about 65% residential and 35% commercial, but the city has a proposal for every piece of vacant land in Nassau Bay, Reynolds said.

“So that’s fantastic news,” he said.