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Port Neches employees to see 2% cost of living adjustment

PORT NECHES — Employees with Port Neches city will likely see a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment as well as a step increase if the proposed 2018-2019 fiscal year budget is approved as is.

The 2 percent COLA would cost the city $123,000 and the step increase for eligible individuals will come in at $144,000 for a total of $267,000 from the general fund. The full impact, when adding in the totals from the water and sewer fund and the sanitation fund, come to $323,100, according to information presented to the City Council during Thursday’s meeting.

Funding for health insurance increased by $11,100 from the current year due to changes to the census, City Manager Andre Wimer said. And payment to the Texas Municipal Retirement System, or TMRS, increased by $16,100 due to an overall increase in payroll and an increase in the TMRS contribution rate.

To create a balanced budget, the city is looking at increasing the tax rate by 1 cent over last year. The proposed tax rate of .735 per $100 of assessed valuation is above the effective rate of .716 but below the rollback rate.

The city allows for a 20 percent homestead exemption, an exemption of $16,600 for over 65 years of age and disability homestead of $16,600, according to information from the appraisal district.

The 1-cent tax rate increase would be minimal to homeowners — with an $8 increase on a $100,000 home.

Highlights-general fund

  • The proposed amount of property tax revenue is projected to be $4.71 million, which is an increase of $110,000.
  • The proposed amount of industrial district contract revenue is anticipated to be $3.3 million, which reflects an increase of $608,000 as compared to last year’s budgeted revenues.
  • The budget also includes an allocation of $440,700 as the city’s contribution to the operation of Central Dispatch, and also includes the city’s share of information technology services.
  • The proposed budget includes $77,350 for the purchase of three police department patrol vehicles.
  • The proposed budget includes $50,000 for the purchase of a replacement vehicle assigned to the assistant fire chief.
  • The proposed budget includes an allocation of $45,000 for RiverFest expenditures.

Highlights-water and sewer fund

  • No changes to the rate structure are expected.
  • The budget also includes $25,000 for equipment repairs and replacement at the water treatment plant.
  • The budget also includes $25,000 for equipment and repairs at the wastewater treatment plant.
  • The budget also includes $50,000 for the purchase of water meters to continue the on-going replacement program.

Highlights- sanitation fund

  • The budget includes a $1 per month increase in the sanitation rate. Wimer noted this is the first increase since 2014 and that operational costs have risen, particularly for equipment, during this time.
  • The budget also includes the purchase of commercial dumpsters for $25,000.

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