Beaumont utility rates to go up next month – Beaumont Enterprise

Beaumont residents’ utility rates will go up in October after the City Council passed the 2022 budget on Tuesday.

The budget was approved by a unanimous vote. However, Councilman Mike Getz voted against the utility rate increases.

The council also adopted a property tax of just under $0.71 per $100 of valuation.

Wastewater service rates will increase by 5%, and garbage rates will increase by $1.00. Individuals 65 and older still could be eligible for a 10% discount on their utility rates.

Water Customer Service Manager Danette Mickens said she will put a message about the discount in customers’ bill. Interested seniors can then call the city for a mailed form to receive the discount.

The usually-routine annual meeting took longer than expected, largely because Councilmember Mike Getz proposed several changes to the budget, which originally was presented to the council in August.

Changes Getz proposed including lowering the property tax by $0.005, that a decision be made concerning The Battleship Texas and that the council officially prioritize the addition of three new dog parks. He also asked the council designate a campsite for unhoused people and use a building owned by Family Services of Southeast Texas, which currently is seeking a new building, as a shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

“I was asking that (the dog parks) be moved out of just the nebulous consideration phase, where it could last for years and years and years — just like the Dowlen extension that’s been there for 20 years or more — into the planning and construction phase, which would require us to make a decision on actually funding it,” Getz said after the meeting. “This, which I’ve been trying to get passed for four years, just continues to get kicked down the road. There’s a lot of people dancing around this, because, frankly, I don’t think some of them are too interested in it.”

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None of Getz’s suggestions were actualized, but he was encouraged to bring his concerns to another city council meeting after the start of the new fiscal year on October 1.

“It’s kind of too late in the process to add that to the budget right now, since we were adopting the capital plan today,” said Beaumont Chief Financial Officer Todd Simoneaux. “I think after October 1, when the new budget takes effect, they’re going to come back to council and may be asked to amend the capital plan to include those dog parks.”

As for The Battleship Texas, Getz believes this should be a priority. Several groups support the exhibit becoming a centerpiece of Beaumont’s downtown, including many veterans, the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, Beaumont Main Street and the Sabine Area Restaurant Association.

“We have a fundamental question that we need to ask ourselves: Do we want The Battleship Texas here?” Getz said. “Today is not the day to answer that question, but I’m going to talk about it and continue to talk about it, just like I’m going to continue to talk about the dog parks until (they) give me an answer.”



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