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Nederland raises taxes, water rates

By Ashley Sanders

The News staff writer

NEDERLAND — Almost one year after the storm, Nederland residents are still feeling the wrath of Rita — this time, however, it is in their wallets.

“We took a heck of a hit from Hurricane Rita,” Nederland Mayor Dick Nugent said during Monday’s regular council meeting. “The repercussions of that are now surfacing and we have taken a $30 million loss.”

According to City Manager Andre’ Wimer, the City of Nederland lost $30 million in assessed property values this year due to storm damage.

“Between the appraisal district and the Jefferson County Tax Office our effective tax rate has increased,” Wimer explained to the council.

The city manager said the effective rate for 2006-2007 was set by the county at $.698 for every $100 in property value. He noted, however, that he thought Nederland could make a budget with less funds.

The council voted unanimously to raise taxes from last year’s rate of $ .65 to $ .685 for every $100 in property value.

“I don’t want to raise taxes,” Ward I Councilman Tim Sheffield told his peers. “I do think, however, that it is prudent that we adopt something to cover our budget.”

The Council also approved a $17 million budget for the city Monday. Of the $.685 per $100 property value that the city takes in, roughly $ .41 will go towards the maintenance and operation of the city and the remaining $ .26 will pay off debt services.

Taxes, unfortunately, will not be the only rate hike Nederland residents will see.

The city council also approved rate increases for city water and sewer services Monday. Bill recipients can expect to add an extra dollar to their base rates for water and $ .50 for sewer.

Wimer said water rates had not increased since 1990; sewer since 1993.

The 2006-2007 budget and tax rate will go into effect Oct. 1, 2006 and end Sept. 30, 2007.