CHRIS DUQUE — Nederland outlines utility hikes, public hearings for basketball court and food truck change
Published 12:32 am Friday, September 30, 2022
The City of Nederland operates on an Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 fiscal year. Thus, Oct. 1, 2022 is the start of a new year for the City.
Effective Oct. 1, 2022 are the City’s new utility rates, which were approved by the City Council at their September 19 meeting. The utility rate adjustments include:
- Adjusting the water base rate by $0.50 ($10.50 to $11);
- Adjusting the per 1,000 gallons water rate by $0.12 ($3.35 to $3.47 for 2,000-50,000 gallons and $3.36 to $3.48 for 50,001+ gallons);
- Adjusting the sewer base rate by $0.50 ($10.90 to $11.40);
- Adjusting the per 1,000 gallons sewer rate by $0.12 ($5.50 to $5.62 for 2,000-50,000 gallons and $5.71 to $5.83 for 50,001+ gallons);
- Adjusting the water and sewer maintenance fees by $0.02 ($0.34 to $0.36 respectively);
- Adjusting the Residential, Commercial and Commercial w/no Trash Solid Waste Rates by $1 ($20.25 to $21.25, $20.25 to $21.25, and $13.25 to $14.25).
The adjustment amounts are applied to outside city limit customers rates.
The rate adjustments were necessary to keep up with growing operational costs. The Water & Sewer and Solid Waste funds are enterprise funds; these services are paid via utility bills and are not tax-supported.
The Water & Sewer Fund expenditures of the adopted fiscal year 2022-23 budget increased by $213,869 from the adopted FY 21-22 budget, and the Solid Waste Fund expenditures of the adopted fiscal year 2022-2023 budget increased by $80,182 from the adopted FY 21-22 budget.
Much of the increases are contractual, such as credit card fees, raw water rates, windstorm insurance and also reflect the impacts of inflation, such as chemical costs and fuel.
Customers who have a base bill (2,000 gallons/month) would see an increase of $2.00/month; customers who utilize 5,000 gallons a month would see an increase of $2.84/month; customers who utilize 10,000 gallons a month would see an increase of $4.24/month; customers who utilize 50,000 gallons a month would see an increase of $15.44/month; and customers who utilize 100,000 gallons a month would see an increase of $29.44/month.
During October, the Nederland City Council will be hosting two public hearings. The first public hearing will be held to solicit input the community, especially the neighbors of Cropo LeBlanc Park, regarding the plan to install a half-court basketball court at this park.
Basketball & food trucks
Citizens reached out to the Parks Director and Parks Advisory Board wanting to have outdoor basketball courts available. Cropo LeBlanc Park was chosen due to the available space and being far away from Doornbos Park, where the basketball courts created a number of problems.
The second public hearing will be held to solicit input from the community regarding the City’s food truck regulations; input from local restaurants is especially sought.
At the Sept. 12 City Council meeting, Keith Bass approached the City to propose removing the requirement that a food truck/trailer be associated with a “special event” (defined as an event organized and permitted by the business establishment for the temporary promotion and advertisement for the benefit of the business establishment, whether for profit or non-profit; in which, the setup is completely on the establishment’s private property).
Both hearings are scheduled for Oct. 24 at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall. If a interested person cannot attend the meeting, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 409-723-1503 so you comment or question can be entered into the record at the City Council meeting.
The City of Nederland received an allocation of $4,304,289.72 from the American Rescue Plan Act to be used for economic relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for “assistance to households, small businesses and non-profits.”
At the Feb. 14 City Council meeting, the City established its Non-Profit Partnership Grant Program. The funds are available to assist non-profit organizations that had a loss in revenue due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, experienced greater expenditures in providing services to the community or are providing specific services to the community via a program or project.
$500,000 was allocated for this Program, and the Program included a cap of $25,000 per non-profit organization. Thus far, the City has awarded $246,515.
Grants funds have been awarded to the Rotary Club of Nederland ($25,000 for lost revenue due to cancellation of 2021 NHF and additional scholarships for NHS students), the Knights of Columbus, Council 5145 ($21,082.75 for lost revenue due to the cancellation of the 2021 NHF and other fundraisers cancelled due to the pandemic), First United Methodist Church of Nederland ($11,171 for lost revenue due to the cancellation of 2021 NHF and increased expenditures to provide services to the community), the Mid-County Noon Optimist ($6,408 for lost revenue due to the cancellation of the 2021 NHF), the Nederland/Port Neches Evening Optimist Club ($15,066.40 due to lost revenue from the cancellation of the 2021 NHF), the Nederland Economic Development Corporation ($15,000 for a project to provide workforce and small business training), the YMCA of Southeast Texas ($12,750 for a program to provide lifeguard and childcare staff job training), Port Neches Assembly #159 or Rainbow Girls ($8,258.63 for lost revenue due to the cancellation of the 2021 NHF), the B.A. “Booty” Ritter Senior Center ($25,000 to enhance programs for senior citizens), the Nederland Chamber of Commerce ($25,000 for lost revenue due to the cancellation of the 2021 NHF and additional scholarships for NHS students), Hillcrest Baptist Church ($6,778.63 for lost revenue due to the cancellation of the 2021 NHF), Community Care Prayer Outreach ($25,000 for a program to assist Nederland-residents with their electricity or utility bills and with rental assistance), Legacy Community Development Corporation ($25,000 for a program for eviction prevention, shelter/prevention of homelessness, and financial education), and Samaritan Counseling Center of Southeast Texas ($25,000 for a mental health services/support program in collaboration with NHS).
Several more applications are still under review.
Fun to come
Upcoming community Events:
- NATIONAL NIGHT OUT on Tuesday, Oct. 4th starting at 5:30 p.m. in front of the police and fire stations,
- the NEDC’s FALL CONCERT series on Thursday, Oct. 13 and 20 at the old Bank of America property,
- MONSTERS IN THE PARK on Friday, Oct. 14 starting at 5 p.m. at Doornbos Park,
- the Nederland Chamber of Commerce’s TRUNK-R-TREAT on Monday, Oct. 31 on Boston Avenue,
- CHRISTMAS ON THE AVENUE on Saturday, Dec. 3 on Boston Avenue,
- the Nederland Chamber of Commerce’s LIGHTED CHRISTMAS PARADE on Tuesday, Dec. 6.
The City is finalizing plans for a Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Park. Please contact the City Manager’s Office with information on your church’s, organizations, etc. Halloween/Fall community event to promote on the electronic sign by the police station and to share on social media.
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.