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Beaumont city employees get raise in FY2019 budget

September 19, 2018

City employees in Beaumont will get a 3 percent raise under the budget approved Tuesday by City Council.

The council voted unanimously to approve a $126 million budget, up about $3.5 million over last year. City Manager Kyle Hayes said the increase was made possible largely due to a 13.5 percent hike in sales tax revenue generated by home and other repairs following Tropical Storm Harvey flooding.

In addition to the cost of living raise for city employees, the budget includes rehabilitation and construction projects around the four wards. Hayes said $5.2 million generated by the sales tax bump will be set aside in a rainy day fund.

He said sales tax revenue is expected to jump another 4 percent this year.

Sales tax revenue often rises in the wake of a hurricane, Hayes said, adding that the city is “doing well.” He stressed that citywide repair efforts to reverse and prevent the damage seen in Harvey are not included in the budget as the city negotiates with the federal government.

Top expenditures in the budget include a $10 million two-year project to repair damaged roads, a topic raised by several people who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

They also voiced concerns over how resources are distributed.

Councilman Audwin Samuel agreed that resources were distributed equally, but not equitably among the four wards because older wards need more repairs. He said that hurts districts like the one he represents, Third Ward.

The budget also includes several ongoing and proposed water and sewage projects. Samuel called on the council to act quickly to resolve an issue with sewage bubbling up in residential bathtubs after rainstorms in the Third Ward.

Another resident voiced concerns about unsafe conditions for bicyclists along the Calder and Magnolia bike lanes, citing debris and reckless drivers.

Councilwoman Virginia Jordan of First Ward said a high number of vacant properties in her district hurts residents and property values.

The council also approved an amendment to an ordinance that would allow homeowners recovering from Harvey to keep temporary housing on their property for six more months.

Haley.Bruyn@BeaumontEnterprise.com

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