Revising the plan: Port Arthur city council makes budget changes

Published 12:14 am Thursday, September 12, 2019

The City of Port Arthur officially approved its 2019-20 budget this week at a routine city council meeting at city hall. The approved budget is been broken down into two sections — total operating funds and capital budget.

The total operating funds was approved at $152,198,791 and the capital budget approved at $105,830,941. The tax rate remained the same at $0.792 per a $100 valuation.

A few changes dictated the proposed expenditures to revised expenditures, raising the total all funds and reducing the capital improvement budget.

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“The changes are minimal but changes happen from the beginning to the end,” Kandy Daniel, interim finance director said. “A lot of it is based on what we discussed at the workshops. They brought up issues that they felt like needed to change.”

The capital improvement budget decreased by $11,655,000 with the relocation of the health department, rounding out at $1.5 million, moving to fiscal year 2021 along with $9.2 million for downtown revitalization efforts and $1 million in technology upgrades for the enterprise resource planning system.

“The capital improvements is mainly a shift in funds to some different years,” Daniel said. “We have a five-year forecast of what we plan to do, so what we’ve done here is we shifted some of the things that were on this year to the next year for different reasons.

“They weren’t quite ready to move the health department. It’s something they’ve talked about but they want to push it back a year so they have time to find a better location. We left $1 million for the downtown revitalization and moved the rest as well.”

Other changes to the budget include a $561,000 increase to the general fund with $181,000 being under governmental funds.

A significant $150,000 chunk of the total is being allocated to parks and recreation for temporary services to the Keep City Clean Program, $28,000 to the city attorney for additional legal services and a transfer of $3,000 to tax increment reinvestment zone. The remaining $380,000 coming from a $330,000 change in the water and sewer funds, $30,000 for Pleasure Island fund and $20,000 moved to the capital reserve fund.

“Highlights of the budget include a focus on capital projects such as street improvements, drainage improvements, general improvements such as parks and recreation, water and waste,” Daniel said. “The salary also increased for all employees including police and firefighters by 2.5 percent.”

Budgets are balanced in all major operating funds with the exception of transfers to capital improvements. For more information, or to see the full list of the proposed budget for 2019-2020, visit