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Port Neches crafts budget with cost-of-living increase; potential approval set for next month

PORT NECHES — Port Neches is looking at offering its employees a 3% cost-of-living increase and allowing eligible employees to receive a step increase.

City manager Andrè Wimer and staff are hammering out the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget, which remains a work in progress.

Wimer presented the City Council with the proposed budget Thursday, which is tentatively set to be voted on Sept. 19.

How it’s divided up

The city’s budget, like those of other municipalities, is divided up in sections: general fund, which is for primary governmental functions; water and sewer fund, for operations of the city’s water and wastewater utilities; sanitation fund, associated with operation of the city’s solid waste functions; debt service fund for payment of bond principal and interest as a result of previously issued debt; and economic development corporation fund, for expenditures associated with the city’s 4B economic development sales tax.

Revenues

The general fund is the most discussed with projected revenues of about $11.1 million and anticipated expenditures of about $11.4 million.

Property tax revenue will bring in a majority of the funds while industrial district contract revenues is anticipated at about $3.3 million as industrial values remain contestant due to a decrease in inventory amounts.

Expenditures

 City expenditures include:

  • The city’s allocation to Central Dispatch comes in at $462,000 and also includes the city’s share of information technology services.
  • Purchase of two police department patrol vehicles, $97,000.
  • Purchase of body cameras, in in-car camera and ticket writers for police department, $37,750.
  • Purchase of three self-contained breathing apparatus for the fire department, $22,000.
  • The budget includes $135,000 in the street department for the street program.
  • Purchase of a flatbed truck, maintenance truck, pickup truck and a power in various public works departments, $163,500.
  • $50,000 for removal of dilapidated structures.
  • $35,000 for RiverFest expenditures
  • $500,000 for costs associated with retiree insurance coverages.

The proposed budget includes the budgeted use of $260,500 in reserve funds, Wimer said. These funds will be used to buy vehicles for various city departments that in some cases have been deferred in previous fiscal years.

Appraisal roll, tax rate

Values are up in the city of Port Neches, according to the 2019 certified appraisal roll provided by the Jefferson County Appraisal District.

Taxable values came in at $972,313,765 — an increase of over $58.3 million or 6.4%.

Wimer and staff initially predicted using last year’s tax rate in its budgetary calculations but that figure won’t work.

“Upon receiving the final tax calculation it necessitated the reduction (of the original number) to .727993 amount,” he said.

This means the proposed property tax rate is .727993 cents per every $100 valuation of your home. This is slightly lower than last year’s rate of .735 cents per $100 valuation.