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Port Neches approves proposed tax rate for FY 2020-21

PORT NECHES — The City of Port Neches’ new tax rate for the Fiscal Year 2020-21 is 0.735000 per a $100 valuation.

The rate increased from 0.727993 last year.

City Manager Andre Wimer said the increase is due to stagnant property value.

“Property values showed very little change over the current fiscal year,” he said. “In preparing the proposed budget, the amount that staff used in terms of the tax rate essentially met the proposed revenue that were based upon the preliminary information given by the appraisal district.”

City council members voted unanimously for the proposed rate at Thursday’s city council meeting.

Other options on the table included the no-new revenue rate of 0.724825, the voter approval rate of 0.762513 and the de minimis rate of 0.795324.

The voter-approval rate triggers an automatic election in November, the no-new rate results in a decrease in revenue by $143,000 and the de minimis rate allows a municipality to rate an additional $500,000 dollars in property taxes.

Wimer said the rate the council approved is the best option.

“There are not simply three options,” he said. “There are a number of options, but what we discussed were three particular tax rates that are defined in state statute. As we work through the budget process used for that, it basically equates to the revenue that is proposed.”

Homeowners can expect to see an impact annually.

A $100,000 home value will see a $6 difference with the new tax rate, jumping from $582 to $588. A $200,000 home value will see an $11 difference from $1,165 to 1,176 and a $300,000 home value is a $17 difference from $1,747 to $1,764.

The city council will hold a public hearing on the tax rate at next month’s board meeting before adopting the proposal.

The board also discussed the proposed Five Year Capital Improvement Program.

The program from 2021-2025 identifies anticipated large-scale expenditures for the upcoming years, including physical development or improvements within the community.

Wimer said all projects have not received council approval, but have been discussed or contemplated in the past.

“These items have been included simply to make the City Council aware of expected costs while also providing a reminder that action will ultimately be necessary,” he said.

Capital expenditures total $19,213,000 and are categorized as follows: Water Treatment and Storage, Water Distribution System, Wastewater Treatment, Wastewater Collection System, Street Improvements and facilities.

The highest cost includes the Water Treatment and Storage totaling $4,305,000 across five years.

The City of Port Neches is currently supplied with water by the Lower Neches Valley Authority through their canal system. The Water Treatment Plant has a treatment and pumping capacity of 4.8 million gallons per day.

The city’s three water towers will need various repairs and replacements that cost $3,250,000 along with the remaining funds used for control room flooring, paint , clear well repair and four waste pit transfer pumps.