Port Neches proposes street maintenance fund through tax redistribution vote

Published 12:14 am Friday, October 25, 2019

PORT NECHES — The City of Port Neches is looking to fix and maintain its streets over the course of the next four years, and a proposition has been placed on the Nov. 5 election ballot to do just that.

The proposition includes the city to reduce the economic development sales tax from one-half of 1% (0.5%) to one-quarter of 1% (.25%) for the adoption of a local sale and use tax to provide revenue for maintenance and repair of public municipal streets.

Andre Wimer, city manager of Port Neches, said the most important thing for voters to know is their tax rate will remain the same. Funds will not increase or decrease but simply be split between the EDC and the proposed Street Maintenance Fund.

“The opportunity presented itself to the council to have the additional funding dedicated to repairing and maintaining the existing streets within the city,” he said. “The new funds can go towards chipped streets, concrete repairs, asphalt overlay; it could be anything on the additional assessment made on those streets.”

Wimer said with the change in sales tax, it would provide an additional $200,000 to $250,000 beyond what the city currently budgets for the street repair and maintenance.

“Every year the city looks at a list of larger street repair projects that are approved by the city council,” he said. “They felt that it would beneficial to have additional funding dedicated toward street work.”

Upon approval, the reallocation of the sales tax will begin April 1, 2020. The first funding that the city would actually receive would be in June 2020. Wimer said this gives a chance for the funds to build up before being dispersed.

“What the city proposes to do is to allow for the funding to accumulate, and the first significant expenditures would not occur till 2021,” he said. “It allows it to accumulate so larger scale projects can be accomplished.”

The street tax will only be used for existing public streets, which the city council will evaluate on an annual basis. If approved, the street maintenance sales tax will have to be reauthorized by a vote every four years.

“The city encourages its residents to vote whether they are for or against the proposal,” Wimer said. “If anyone has any particular questions about the proposal they can direct them to the city council or reach out to their local council member.”