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Council hoses second public hearing for tax rate increase
by Shane Ersland
Aug 26, 2014 | 160 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PORTLAND – The City Council approved an ad valorem tax increase

Tuesday to raise funds for city maintenance and operations for fiscal 2015.

The Council held its second public hearing necessary to implement the tax rate Tuesday. The first public hearing was held Aug. 14. There were no comments issued by residents during either meeting.

The tax rate will be raised to 60.06 cents per $100 valuation. Last year’s rate was 55.06 cents per $100 valuation. The rate will generate approximately $422,544 in additional tax revenue, and will support initiatives within the 2015 budget.

“Increases to the budget are predominately public safety and infrastructure,” Director of Finance Michel Sorrell said.

The Council recently approved a $5 million street improvement initiative, Sorrell noted.

Sorrell said she conducted research into what the tax rates will be for surrounding communities, and said Portland will have the second lowest rate in the area, behind Corpus Christi’s rate of 59 cents per $100 valuation. Ingleside’s rate will be 63 cents per $100 valuation, and Robstown’s rate will be 81 cents per $100 valuation, she said. Gregory Council members have proposed a tax rate of 86 cents per $100 valuation.

In other business, city staff was able to come to an agreement with other parties involved in a lawsuit which centered around the air conditioning system at the police station. Teal Construction was the original contractor for the system. The lawsuit involved the city, Teal, Gignac & Associates, MALEK Inc., and Air Pro.

“The original lawsuit was filed by Teal against the city and Gignac because of delays,” City Manager Randy Wright said. “The city denied responsibility for the delays, and additional money for the contractor. There were a number of environmental problems with the building, so we decided to join the lawsuit.”

Under the agreement, Teal will pay the city $45,000. Gignac will pay the city $150,000. MALEK will pay the city $25,000, and clean the air conditioning ducts at the police department. Air Pro will pay the city $25,000, Teal $50,000, and will make adjustments to the police department’s air conditioning system.

“It turned out well for the city and its residents,” Wright said.

Council members recognized Timothy Vanlandingham during the Aug. 14 meeting. Vanlandingham retired as the city’s fire chief, and sat in on his last Council meeting that night. He will perform safety, security, and emergency response work for Voestalpine beginning Sept. 1.

“It has been a privilege to work with Tim,” Wright said. “He’s been a driving force in making sure our fire department is modernized. We’ll put our fire department up against any of our neighbors as far as our technical abilities.”

Councilman John Green agreed.

“You’ve been an icon here, and I hope you don’t disappear,” he said. “I look forward to seeing you, and working with you in the future.”

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