Photo: ANDREW BUCKLEY
The city of Humbleâ€™s nearly $80 million 2019 budget will fund six new fire fighters and a new detective in addition to new amenities at city parks and upgrades at the Humble Civic Center.
The Humble City Council approved a budget with $78 million in expenditures for fiscal year 2019 on Aug. 14, a 7.4 percent decrease from the 2018 budget.
â€śOverall Iâ€™ll say the city is in decent fiscal shape and this budget puts our long-term financial health in better position considering all that we had to endure over the past year,â€ť City Manager Jason Stuebe said.
This upcoming fiscal yearâ€™s property tax rate remains the same â€” 22 cent per $100 valuation.
There will be two tax rate public hearings on Sept. 6 at 6:30 p.m. and Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. There will also be a public hearing on the tax rate adoption and budget adoption on Sept. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Starting the 2019 fiscal year the city also has a surplus budget of $33 million, after decreasing its operating expenses by nearly 13 percent. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
Investing in public safety
The fire department was one of few departments that saw an increase in its budget as it prepares to hire more staff this year.
The fire department has an expenditure budget of $7 million compared to last yearâ€™s budget of $6.9 million â€” an increase of less than 1 percent. About $633,000 of its budget will be used to hire the six new firefighters.
â€śThese six positions were actually supposed to be included in last yearâ€™s budget, but they were eventually removed,â€ť Stuebe said.
The police departmentâ€™s budget of $11 million for the 2019 fiscal year is a 3.7 percent dip compared to last yearâ€™s budget of $11.4 million. However, this includes $106,157 in funding for a new detective.
â€śThis is for a new detective to help out with our enormous case load,â€ť Stuebe said. â€śOur detectives have been primarily focused on major cases. This new will allow for someone to come in and help with that.â€ť
Parks and swimming pools
Capital projects the parks department has proposed include replacing the fencing at Schott and Timberwood Parks, resurfacing the tennis court in Hirsch Memorial Park and purchasing two Ford F350 work trucks with service beds.
The budget also includes swimming pool plumbing improvements and repairs, a new parks building and miscellaneous equipment.
â€śA couple of months ago we discovered that we had some serious plumbing issues. This was due to the overcast iron pipe that begun begun flaking and started causing backups in the restrooms and the pool,â€ť Stuebe said.
Swimming pool repairs will be spread out between the parks and the Humble Civic Center budget.
Civic Center, Charles Bender projects
The Humble Civic Center budgeted $139,850 for capital expenditure projects, which include exterior painting, ballroom gray chairs, video surveillance cameras, automated door access systems to the Cezeaux Building along with plumbing improvements and repairs and two TV monitor displays in the lobby.
Capital projects for the civic center activity center includes a new building for the senior activity center estimated at $1.2 million.
â€śWe have $1.2 million for a new (senior activity) center however weâ€™re currently looking to see if thereâ€™s any way we can save that building through aggressive maintenance and do a complete renovation of the interior,â€ť Stuebe said. â€śIf weâ€™re able to get by with the renovation I expect the number to come down.â€ť
The Charles Bender Performing Arts Center has budgeted $124,000, for miscellaneous machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, property improvements, a marquee, intrusion and video surveillance and additional stage lighting.
Moving the museum
Stuebe also mentioned that the Humble Museum will be relocated to 601. Higgins St. because the facility is beyond repair. The museum was damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
Once everything is settled in the new location, the city will demolish the museumâ€™s previous location on Main Street.
Abatement and demolition of the Main Street facility is estimated at $150,000 from the Hotel/Motel capital expenditure budget and $300,000 to renovate the Higgins location.
â€śThe museum unfortunately has reached a point where itâ€™s kind of at critical mass in terms of being able to be repaired and cost effectiveness of repairing it,â€ť Stuebe said.