West U Meetings on Budget, Zoning Slated for Monday

September 27, 2014

The West U City Council will meet Monday evening, to consider a $34.3 million 2015 city budget that will raise taxes by 5.81 percent in the city.
The council is holding a workshop that starts at 5:30 p.m., and a special meeting at 6 p.m. in the city council chambers at the West U Municipal Building at 3800 University. Meanwhile, two public hearings on proposed changes to the city’s commercial zoning ordinances will be held at 3 p.m., and 6 p.m., in the in the large meeting room at the Community Building at Auden Street and Rice Boulevard.
Although the council is lowering the tax rate from 37 cents per $100 of property value to 36 cents per $100, a recent reevaluation of West U properties by the Harris County Appraisal
District will result in a tax increase for most West U homeowners. HCAD determined that property values in West U have increased by about 10.3 percent.
According to HCAD, the average home in West U is now valued at $898,000. With the city’s new property tax rate, the owner of an average home would pay about $18 more each month in city taxes.
The agenda for the council’s meeting states that a council member must read the following statement: “I move that the property tax rate be increased by the adoption of a tax rate of 0.36179, which is effectively a 5.81 percent increase in the tax rate.”
The city council has held two public hearings on the tax change.
The budget, if approved by the council, would total $34.3 million. That includes $12.4 million for personnel; $9.2 million for operating expenses; $227,630 for capital outlays; $3.2 million for transfers between funds, and $9.3 million in debt service payments to retire city bonds.
The proposed budget for will include a minimum pay raise for city employees of 3 percent, with some employees slated for pay raises up to 15 percent. The pay increases were recommended by consultants the city hired last year, in order to make West U’s pay more competitive with other cities in the Houston area.
The city council, in a budget workshop earlier this month, scaled back a proposed increase in fees for solid waste and recycling collections. There will be a slight increase of 60 cents per month for most West U homeowners, but senior citizens’ rates would go up by only 30 cents per month.
The council also is scheduled to meet in executive session with Jeff Gerber, of PGAL Architects, about Master Planning for City Facilities. The council met with Gerber last week.