Shenandoah's proposed budget includes dog park, staffing changes, new events

Updated Sept. 17 at 11:47 a.m.

The city of Shenandoah’s proposed fiscal year 2018-19 budget includes funding for a dog park, changes in city staffing and additional citywide events.

Although the budget and tax rate will not be officially adopted by Shenandoah City Council until Sept. 12, the council held a two-day workshop in August to discuss the proposed budget.

“I think we came up with a really solid budget for our residents that spends their money wisely but doesn’t spend too much,” Mayor Ritch Wheeler said.

The budget reflects the addition of two police officers to the Shenandoah Police Department, the replacement of an executive assistant position with a records clerk/administrative assistant position, the elimination of an accountant position in the Finance Department and the hiring of a new convention and visitors center director.

As the Shenandoah Convention and Visitors Center was closed from Hurricane Harvey in August 2017 until March, City Administrator Kathie Reyer said the city is considering other uses for that space.

“The visitors center has little traffic overall and is expensive to lease, so the city is looking at alternatives for that space,” Reyer said.

The proposed budget also includes funding for a dog park, improvements to the Mary Pat Case Pool, the ongoing fiber internet project, and water and sewer projects.

The council also opted to continue paying for residential trash, which began in FY 2017-18.

City officials included a spike in taxable property value as part of the budget. Shenandoah’s taxable value jumped by more than 17 percent between 2017 and 2018—the largest increase the city has had over the past decade.

“Home values increased slightly, but the main reason [for the increase] is all of the commercial development and improvements that have happened [between 2017 and 2018],” Reyer said.

Some of these commercial developments include mixed-use developments like MetroPark Square. With this increase in taxable value, city officials said they are planning on approving a tax rate equal to or less than $0.1809 per $100 home valuation.

Although a tax rate will not be approved until Sept. 12, the council did discuss a proposed tax rate of $0.1799 per $100 valuation.

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included proposed budget amounts, which have since been updated following the Sept. 12 budget approval by Shenandoah City Council.
By Hannah Zedaker

Editor, Spring/Klein & Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood

Hannah joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor of the Spring/Klein edition and later became the editor of both the Spring/Klein and Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood editions in June 2021. Hannah covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Hannah served as associate editor of The Houstonian, interned with Community Impact Newspaper and spent time writing for the Sam Houston State University College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and The Huntsville Item.