CHRIS DUQUE — Nederland budget breakdown includes fee jumps, quality of life plans

Published 12:04 am Friday, September 2, 2022

In August, the Nederland City Council began the process of adopting the fiscal year 2022-23 budget and the tax rate.

On Aug. 8, the proposed budget was formally submitted to the City Council, and the City Council proposed a tax rate of $0.481056 per $100 assessed taxable value, which is one cent greater than the “no-new revenue” tax rate.

A public hearing regarding the proposed budget and tax rate was scheduled Aug. 22 and another one is Sept. 12.

Nederland City Manager Chris Duque

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The FY 2022-23 budget and tax rate will be voted on by the City Council on Monday/Sept. 19 at 4:30 p.m.

The proposed FY 22-23 budget totals $27,247,538 across all funds.

The General Fund is balanced with revenues and expenditures totaling $13,155,590; expenditures decreased by $1,163,091 compared to last year’s adopted budget.

The significant expenditure increases are the creation of a new firefighter position, which is part of a long-term plan to increase the staffing per shift, reclassifying a police sergeant position to a police lieutenant position and allocating funds to upgrade the lighting at the Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library.

Water, sewer, solid waste

The Water & Sewer Fund is balanced with revenues and expenditures totaling $5,749,907, an increase of 3.86% from the prior fiscal year.

The significant expenditure increases are greater windstorm insurance allocations, raw water costs, credit card fees and inflation-impacted items including chemicals and fuel.

Due to the cost increase in providing water and sewer service, it is necessary to adjust the water/sewer rates effective Oct. 1.

The water and sewer base rates are both increased by $0.50; the per 1,000 gallons water rate is increased by $0.12; the per 1,000 gallons sewer rate is increased by $0.12; and the water and sewer line maintenance fees are increased by $0.02 respectively.

The Solid Waste Fund is balanced with revenues and expenditures totaling $1,765,060, an increase of 4.76% from the previous fiscal year. The significant expenditure increases include adjusting the solid waste driver pay in response to market demands, establishing a stipend for drivers assigned to trash routes, fuel and waste disposal.

Due to the cost increase in providing solid waste service, it is necessary to increase the solid waste fee by $1/month.

Capital projects

A number of capital projects are included in the proposed budget.

$1,077,000 is allocated for the 2022/2023 Street Program via the General and Street Improvement Funds; at this time, the City has two programmed street projects (concrete repairs on 21st Street between Detroit and Helena and Avenue H between 29th Street and the Highway 69 frontage road); the City Council will select the other street projects later in the year.

Last year, the City issued the 2021 Certificates of Obligation in the amount of $4.35M for street, bridge and drainage improvements. The remaining funds are programmed to complete the concrete repairs of Nederland Avenue between the railroad tracks and 1st Street.    

Utilizing Harvey Disaster Recovery Program funds ($4,259,659), drainage improvements will be completed in the Hilldale/Hill Terrace area and the areas near 3rd Street, Texas and 1st Street between Nederland Avenue and Boston Avenue.

Using Hazard Mitigation Grant funding, generators will be installed at four lift stations, which will complete the generator installation project at all the wastewater facilities and all essential City facilities. The Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements Phase 2 project will be completed, which will complete over $2M being invested in the sewer plant.

Utilizing the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recover Funds, $1.25M will be utilized for a waterline replacement project and $1.25M will be utilized for a sewerline replacement project.

Quality of life & tax rate

Quality of life improvements include the installation of LED lighting at the Library, landscaping improvements and electrical repairs at Tex Ritter Park, construction of a half-court basketball court at Cropo LeBlanc Park, re-surfacing the tennis courts at Doornbos Park, installation of a new playground at Doornbos Park, parking lot/concrete drive repairs at Doornbos Park, installation of fencing around the waterslide, re-surfacing the swimming pool deck, re-painting the Windmill, installation of disc golf baskets at Rienstra Park and repairs/maintenance of the pond at Doornbos Park. 

The proposed budget is based on utilization of the tax rate of $0.481056 per $100 assessed taxable value, which is one cent greater than the “no-new revenue” tax rate. The current tax rate is $0.517206 per $100 assessed taxable value.

In 2019, the State Legislature approved Senate Bill 2 that made significant changes to property taxes.

Previously, the City discussed adopting a tax rate between the “effective tax rate” (the benchmark tax rate needed to raise the same amount of maintenance and operations property taxes on existing property as the previous year after taking into account changes in appraised values) and the “rollback tax rate” (the tax rate necessary to raise precisely 8% more maintenance and operations tax revenue as the year before after taking into account appraisal fluctuations).

Following SB2, the term “effective tax rate” has been changed to “no-new-revenue tax rate” and “rollback tax rate” has been changed to “voter-approval tax rate.”

The “voter-approval tax rate” is calculated utilizing 3.5% instead of eight percent.

This is the fourth year that the City has reduced the tax rate.

By utilizing the tax rate of $0.481056, the City of Nederland will continue to have the lowest municipal tax rate in Jefferson County.

Quick hits

The 2022 Hurricane Season began on June 1, and the peak of the season is Sept. 10th. Communication is vital during an emergency. The City utilizes the Southeast Texas Alerting Network (STAN) and our social media pages to push emergency notices.

If you have not already registered for STAN or have family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. who have not already registered, please register for STAN at https://thestan.com or call 844-578-7826.

Also follow the City’s Facebook pages: “The City of Nederland, TX,” “Nederland Police Department,” “Nederland Fire Rescue,” “Nederland Recreation Center,” “Marion & Ed Hughes Public Library,” and “Nederland Animal Shelter.”   

Scheduled community events for September and October include the Nederland Economic Development Corporation’s FALL CONCERT series (Thursdays, Sept. 15, Sept. 29, Oct. 13th and Oct. 20 by the old Bank of America drive-thru), NATIONAL NIGHT OUT on Oct. 4 by the Police and Fire Stations at 1400 Boston Avenue, MONSTERS IN THE PARK on Oct. 14 at Doornbos Park, the NEDC’s FALL MARKET on Oct. 15 along Boston Avenue, and the Chamber of Commerce’s TRUNK-R-TREAT event on Oct. 31 on Boston Avenue.

Finally, on Sept. 5, we celebrate Labor Day – an annual celebration of the achievements of the American workers.

I want to thank and recognize the employees of the City of Nederland; the men and women of this organization have done an amazing job in their performance of their duties and have repeatedly volunteered and donated to help those in need. THANK YOU.

And thank you to all workers!   

If there are any questions regarding City operations, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 409-723-1503.

Chris Duque is city manager for Nederland. He can be reached at CDuque@ci.nederland.tx.us.