The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Port Arthur Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince assured the audience at Wednesday’s State of the City Address that the city is “financially sound” but it would have to manage its funds to meet the needs of its people.
Some of those needs might be met soon though. The clinic Valero Energy Corp. funded to build on the West Side will be open and ready to serve residents by April 30, Prince said. The energy company had until Dec. 31 of last year to complete construction of the clinic.
Police officers, firefighters, business employees and city staff alike congregated inside the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center for the luncheon Wednesday afternoon.
Several local companies, including Acadian Ambulance Service, BASF Total Petrochemicals, KT Maintenance, Chevron Phillips, Motiva Enterprises and the Parker Law Firm, sponsored the event alongside the city, the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation, the Port of Port Arthur and Port Arthur ISD.
The city itself has seen a 21.3 percent increase — or $4.1 million — since last year in its revenue fund as a result of its large source of industrial payments, Prince said during her status of the city speech Wednesday.
The city has “in lieu of property tax” agreements with the refineries that allows them to pay a percentage of the property tax rate within the city — 79 cents per $100 valuation — but requires them to hire a certain number of Port Arthur residents, according to a copy of one agreement.
For the 2013 budget, industrial payments of $23 million made up 43 percent of the city’s total general fund, according to materials provided at the luncheon.
Crime in the city declined by 16 percent in 2012, Prince said, thanks to the approximately 127 police officers who patrol the streets of Port Arthur.
Meanwhile, the city has begun rebuilding the fire station in Sabine Pass that was destroyed by hurricanes and repaving and repairing some of the city’s roads that have remained damaged for years, Prince said.
Those in need of Hurricane Ike assistance funding can now apply for it in Port Arthur at the former fire station on the corner of Memorial Boulevard and 32nd Street instead of driving to Beaumont, Prince said. The fire station has been converted into office space for the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission.