CHRIS DUQUE — Go in depth on Nederland taxes and streets work

Published 12:10 am Sunday, April 7, 2024

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Two of the most common questions regarding the City of Nederland are taxes/finances and streets.

This month, we will discuss both subjects in-depth.

Nederland City Manager Chris Duque


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The City of Nederland operates on an annual budget beginning on Oct. 1st and ending Sept. 30. The annual budget is reviewed and adopted each September by the Nederland City Council.

The process for adoption of the budget begins in late May; department heads present their budget proposals and requests to the city manager who is also the city’s budget officer.

The city manager prepares a draft budget that is then presented to the city council at a budget workshop in early July; at the budget workshop, each department head presents their draft budget and their requests; the draft budget may be amended based on the direction provided by the city council.

Following the workshop, the City waits for the certified taxable values and the calculated tax rates.

In August, the proposed budget is formally submitted, and public hearings are held regarding the proposed budget and tax rate.

The Jefferson County Appraisal District provides certified taxable values to the city and other governmental entities. JCAD is independent from the city; no city employee or official is a member of the appraisal district board of directors. Based on the certified taxable values, the Jefferson County Tax Office provides the calculated tax rates.

Appraisals and tax rates have an inverse relationship; if the appraisals increase, then calculated tax rates will decrease. The current tax rate is $0.467607 per $100 of assessed taxable value; this tax rate is the “voter-approval tax rate;” this tax rate was utilized to fund five new public safety positions (four police officers to provide a school resource officer at all NISD campuses and a firefighter position to enhance services per shift).

Since 2019, the City has lowered the tax rate from $0.609578 to $0.599159 to $0.579708 to $0.51720 and to $0.481056. The City of Nederland has the lowest municipal tax rate in Jefferson County.

The city’s budget is separated into various funds; the three most significant are the General Fund, the Water & Sewer Fund, and the Solid Waste Fund.

The General Fund includes police, fire, parks, library, inspections, streets & drainage, animal control, code enforcement, public works administration and city administration. These services are funded by property taxes, sales tax, industrial taxes, various fees and miscellaneous revenue.

The Water & Sewer Fund and Solid Waste Fund operate separately as enterprise funds. These services are funded by fees from utility rates for water service, sewer service, and solid waste services; they are not tax-supported services.

Annually during the budget adoption process, the City Council approves an ordinance establishing the utility rates and regulations. Because they are enterprise funds, utility rates must be adjusted to ensure the funds do not run a deficit.

In the past several years, it has been necessary to increase utility rates to keep up with increases in operating costs, especially windstorm insurance for the water and sewer treatment plants.

At the end of every fiscal year, the audit process begins. An independent audit firm presents the audit to the City Council every Spring.


The City’s planned concrete street and HMAC (hot mix overlay) street projects are out for bid. The concrete street program includes concrete street repairs on Nederland Ave from the railroad tracks to 1st Street and 27th Street from Nederland Ave to Ave B (a bid alternate has been included for 27th Street from Ave B to Ave H).

The HMAC street program includes Canal Ave (27th St to the HWY 69 frontage road), Seattle (18th St to the dead end), 19th St (Queen to Seattle), 20th St (Queen to Seattle & Queen to Canal), and Queen (dead end to dead end).

In addition to the concrete and asphalt street projects, the City plans to work with Jefferson County Pct. 2 on nearly 3 miles of chip seal road projects this summer.

Finally, the City plans to re-surface Hill Terrace Drive and Hilldale Drive following completion of the drainage improvements in the same area.

Street projects are funded by the city’s General Fund and the Street Improvement Fund.

In 2007, the Nederland voters authorized the City to collect a quarter cent of sales tax exclusively for maintenance and rehabilitation of existing public streets; voters must re-authorize the “street sales tax” every four years. The street sales tax is not an additional tax; it split the existing sales tax.

The collected funds are reserved and are budgeted in a separate fund; these funds do not support operational expenses; they are solely spent on road projects including engineering. Prior to the streets sales tax, the City annually allocated $100,000 to $150,000 for streets compared to the $750,000 to $900,000 that are now allocated.

Street projects are prioritized by the Streets and Public Works staff; their list is presented to the City Council for approval. Once the street projects are selected, engineering firms are engaged for the bid specifications.

City staff and the City Council welcome public input on street projects.


The Doornbos Park Pond Rehabilitation project is progressing. Once the pond repairs are complete, it will be necessary to install a new sidewalk along the back edge of the pond; in addition, a concrete pad and connecting sidewalk will be built by the edge of pond to ensure individuals in wheelchairs can fish by pond.

The City has purchased a new large pavilion (between the pond and tennis courts); this new pavilion is scheduled for installation in early Summer. The next parks project is the tennis courts surface (including pickleball striping) and lights repairs.

At Tex Ritter Park, construction will start with repairs to the electrical loop and lights.

The National Day of Prayer event is on Thursday/May 2 in front of City Hall.

We hope everyone had an enjoyable time at the 2024 Nederland Heritage Festival. The NHF director, board and volunteers did an incredible job.

The city employees (police officers, firefighters, public works employees, etc.) who worked the event did a great job as well. We look forward to next year’s NHF!

Finally, please register for free emergency notifications from the city via the Southeast Texas Alerting Network (STAN) at

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