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SPOTLIGHT – – Important Meetings and Events
Randalls Store Is Closing – Last day is scheduled for the end of February 2021. No plans have been announced for the building or the 3-acre site, located in the UV-D District.
Spruce and Fifth Streets – Now the subject of a lawsuit, the $3.2 million in contracts for this project called for completion by February 15, 2020. A drive through the area feels as though you’re in a fun house. Here’s some background on this project.
Over the past five years our property tax rate has risen from $.3805 in 2015-2016 to $.4473 for 2019-2020, an 18% increase. But for the past 3 years, from 2018-2020, the property tax revenue has barely increased.
- The City’s revenue from property taxes increased – from $15.42 million for 2015 to $20.53 million in 2019. A 33% increase. More than $5 million dollars in five years.
- However there has been little annual gain since 2018. Per the Harris County Tax Office, the annual increase in Bellaire’s property tax revenues over the past 3 years has flattened: $20,028,121 in 2018, 20,534,596 in 2019, and $20,658,141 for 2020.
- And no Capital Improvement Cash funds were scheduled to be paid from the General Fund in year 2020. Nothing for Parks or the Library. Where did that $5 million in addtional revenue go?
- Over those same 5 years our bonded debt increased almost $50 million dollars,
Recycling, organic gardening, less pesticides – all win/wins for our kids and our community. So are reusable bags!
Find informative articles here.
100 Years of Bellaire History!
And for a terrific photo history check this out:
No More City Of Homes?
According to the City manager and staff our longtime City logo, representing Bellaire as a City of Homes, will soon be gone, thanks to City Council and the $50,000 branding study. Read more here.
Category Archives: Government
What Happened To Our Building Officials? (Updated information on City Council’s actions can be found at the end of this article) For some reason the City of Bellaire has chosen not to hire, or even attempt to hire, building … Continue reading
The Ongoing Saga Of Spruce and Fifth Streets The first lawsuit was filed by A Status Construction on August 27, 2020, and is unresolved at this time. The construction contractor claims they are due additional payment for work on Spruce/Fifth … Continue reading
For some reason developers, businesses, and organizations tend to purchase properties in Bellaire that are zoned for one purpose, then request that the property be rezoned for a different purpose. One might wonder, why does our City of Homes seem … Continue reading
Hopefully City Council’s unanimous decision at the November 16, 2020, meeting to deny the zoning applications by Evelyn’s Park Conservancy for the commercial parking lot at 4300 Bellaire Blvd will lead to the removal of that lot. If you are … Continue reading
This is from the Mayor’s blog, 11/10/2020. A modified design and 20 conditions:
City Council in November: HISD Ball Fields, Bellaire Blvd Parking Lot, Debt Reduction, And A Search For A City Manager
HISD Application – Former Gordon Elementary Campus 11/4/2020 UPDATE: No decision. Council wants more information on the size of replacement trees. Listen to the recorded meeting here. Find the list of conditions and field layout here. On November 2, 2020, … Continue reading
UPDATE 10/21/2020: City Council voted 5-2 to approve a 1% match in the $65 million dollar CDBG-MIT grant application at the October 19, 2020, meeting. The application includes the demolition of our wastewater treatment plant to create a detention area. … Continue reading
The action never stops, no wonder we ordinary Bellaire citizens can’t keep up! Read this post item by item, or drop down to your area of interest. All of this affects our future.
September In The City! Our Wastewater Plant, The AT&T Property, The HISD Ball Fields, And The Bellaire Blvd Parking Lot!
After a quiet Labor Day things are picking up at City Hall.
NOTE: The BOA meeting was cancelled. Why will the Board of Adjustment, rather than Planning and Zoning, hear a request on September 17th (7 PM) from a developer for an amendment to a zoning ordinance for a Planned Development? Apparently … Continue reading
On August 20, 2020, Bellaire’s Board of Adjustment voted NO, 4 to 2, on a request from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts for a variance in the zoning of the UV-D to construct a new one-story building at their current location at … Continue reading
UPDATE 9/4/2020: A Public Hearing was held on Thursday, August 13, 2020, before the Planning and Zoning Commission, for the parking lot at 4300 Bellaire Blvd. I counted twenty speakers opposed the zoning request, no one spoke in favor. The … Continue reading
Bellaire’s Municipal budgets are dry and hard to digest. Lots of verbiage, numbers, graphs, etc. It’s understandable that most residents don’t spend time reviewing them, and so may have missed the $6 million dollar Dog Pound that was added to … Continue reading
UPDATE 11/16/2020: At a City Council meeting on Monday, November 16, 2020, the City Council also unanimously rejected the rezoning applications. UPDATE 10/8/2020: The requests to rezone the parking lot were rejected by Planning and Zoning on October 8, 2020, … Continue reading
Many Bellaire residents point to the Rice Village as an example of small shops and boutiques in West University. It is not. The shops and the huge apartment complex are in Houston. West University would not allow that huge mixed-use … Continue reading
On Friday, July 10th, the contractor for Spruce/Fifth and Bolivar/Maple stopped work on projects over a pay dispute with the City.
UPDATE 11/11/22020: Council has approved the 2-field plan but with numerous conditions. Find those conditions and the new layout here. UPDATE: The public hearing by City Council for this application has been postponed to sometime in August 2020 or whenever … Continue reading
Public Comments at the July 6, 2020, Council meeting included a call from Raquel Boujourne, the owner and president of A Status Construction LLC, the contractor responsible for the Spruce/Fifth project. Ms. Boujourne stated that her company has been blamed … Continue reading
UPDATE 6/24/2020: Mayor Friedberg announced that City Manager Paul Hofmann has been hired as the City Manager of Bastrop, TX, and will be leaving Bellaire on August 2, 2020. The June 15, 2020, Council meeting was an in-person action packed … Continue reading
Sorry, this is a long article. The health crisis and lack of in-person Council, commission, and board meetings have not slowed down the staff meetings and planning sessions at City Hall. Click on items of interest below to read the … Continue reading
Remember this? South Rice Avenue before the new City Hall/Civic Center was built? Carefree driving with 2 wide lanes in each direction? UPDATE: At the June 15, 2020, City Council meeting the Mayor and members of Council voted unanimously to … Continue reading
City of Bellaire Economics in 2020 – A New Paradigm The economic damage from the current health crisis is alarming, and the City of Bellaire anticipates a decrease in revenues FY2020. At the April 6, 2020, City Council meeting Council … Continue reading
The recent Bellaire City Council meeting on March 2, 2020, which included a Workshop regarding Revised Street and Drainage Reconstruction Selection Criteria, once again revealed a marked change in attitude by Council members.
Members of the Bellaire Planning & Zoning Commission have been tasked with drafting proposed amendments to the Technical Research Park District (TRPD), for the purpose of creating a new zoning district, North Bellaire Special Development (NBSD) District.
February 17, 2020 Dear Mayor Friedberg and members of City Council, The City Manager’s weekly memo of 2/14/20 … Continue reading
What’s the value of a City of Bellaire construction contract? Apparently if you’re the owner of the company awarded contracts for the City Manager’s pet projects it’s not worth the paper it’s written on.
The January 27, 2020, council meeting, the second of the year, was eventful – and long. After discussing and approving various ordinances, some passing after minor tweaks, the meeting moved on to Items for Consideration.
In a recent weekly memo on 1/10/2020 Bellaire City Manager Paul Hofmann explained that last Fall it was discovered that the surety bonds provided by A Status Construction, LLC for three (3) City bond projects, totaling over $6.5 million dollars, … Continue reading
On January 30, 2019, Bellaire’s City engineer James Andrews of ARKK Engineers recommended a company new to Bellaire, A Status Construction, LLC, as qualified to run several construction projects funded by the 2016 bond issue, including the $2.5 million Spruce/Fifth … Continue reading
It’s time for some thoughtful reflection on our recent City Council elections. I believe the election results revealed that our Mayor and recent Council members had lost the trust of both residents and local businesses while following the lead of … Continue reading
UPDATE 12/31/2019: Notice of public hearings on January 9, 2020, for applications from HISD for revisions to the proposed sports fields at the old Gordon Elementary site on Bissonnet and from Cushman & Wakefield, on behalf of Southwestern Bell Telephone … Continue reading
After submitting grant applications to various agencies Bellaire is the recipient of two grants to date. A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for $252,033.84, for flooding from 2015, will be applied towards the Group C Phase 3 bond project. specifically … Continue reading
UPDATE 12/14/2019: The results of the Bellaire Runoff Election are in. The new City Council members are Nathan Wesely for Position 4 and Jim Hotze for Position 6, joining Catherine Lewis on City Council in January, 2020. Here’s the Agenda.
Scan the most recent posts on this site. You’ll find articles on developer requests to rezone numerous Bellaire properties. Not requests to construct developments that comply with current zoning, but to change it. These developers want more, in essence to … Continue reading
UPDATE 12/17/19: No decisions at 12/12/19 on SLS Properties, 4900 Fournace. The next step is the meeting in January, 2020. Environmental issues are still a high priority with residents, as well as the scale of the proposed development. Click for … Continue reading
Construction is underway on Spruce and Fifth St. alongside and behind H-E-B. Promoted by the City Manager and approved by 6 members of City Council, the City of Bellaire decided to narrow 60 foot … Continue reading
UPDATE: March, 2020 – Still no actual list of responses to reference checks from the City of Bellaire. A logical deduction: perhaps none were made, no one was contacted, or perhaps the responses were not positive. An Open Letter to … Continue reading
Is anyone else curious about the disparity between the proposal to purchase a new EMS ambulance for $280,000, and the fact that Bellaire leases other City vehicles instead of purchasing them?
ChristChurch Presbyterian, at the corner of Bellaire Blvd and South Rice Avenue, is for sale. Originally established as a Presbyterian church in 1919, Bellaire Presbyterian merged with Braeburn Presbyterian in 2006. According to Bellaire history the current red brick sanctuary … Continue reading
Two Bellaire residents spoke at the City Council meeting on Monday, October 21, 2019, expressing their concern about a new residential construction in their area that is elevated about 10 to 12 feet off the ground. See the photo at … Continue reading
My Comments at City Council on September 16, 2019: Good Evening, Mayor and City Council, I realize that you would prefer that we simply support you in your approval of this budget. That we hand you and the City Manager … Continue reading
Since 1980 Bellaire voters have approved $199,980,000 in bond issues. Most of that amount, $165,480,000, has been approved since 2000. We currently owe about $123 million. What do we have to show for all that debt? Even though many homeowners … Continue reading
Have you received notification of the free Aquahawk Alerting system? Dealt with a water leak not far from your new water meter? Do you even know that you have a new water meter? Or what an Aquahawk is?
Please click on the page below to view Mike Jacobs’ Budget Analysis FY2020 as presented to Bellaire City Council on September 9, 2019. The pdf can also be downloaded. Thank you.
August 6, 2019: There was good news for Bellaire residents as City Council voted 6 to 1 at the August 5, 2019, Council meeting to retain the existing residential zoning in the Bellaire Boulevard Estate Overlay District (BBEOD). Only outgoing … Continue reading
“The plan takes care of “the basics” by repeatedly reinforcing the fundamental importance of neighborhood integrity in the City of Homes, as well as the priority residents place on parks and recreation opportunities, safe streets, and preservation of a small-town … Continue reading
UPDATE 9-27-2019: On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the City Council approved an increase the total tax levy for the 2019 tax year (fiscal year 2020) by 3.28% by proposing a tax rate of $0.4473 per $100 valuation. Less then the … Continue reading
Apparently the sky’s not really falling, since the proposed budget FY2020 presented by the City Manager increases expenditures in every major area and includes a million dollars for him to use to plan the next bond issue. Including the proposed … Continue reading
UPDATE 9-27-2019: Some good news. On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, the City Council meeting will include a presentation regarding a proposal to increase the total tax levy for the 2019 tax year (fiscal year 2020) by 3.28% by proposing a … Continue reading
4800 Fournace & 5901 South Rice – Development & Apartments – Undermining Residents and Our City of Homes?
UPDATE: A second workshop is to be scheduled during the week of October 28, with a public hearing to follow during the week of November 18, tentatively. The Commission would then vote at their December 12, 2019, meeting. Find recent … Continue reading
Click the graphic at left to review the 8 page draft of the end product from the recent City Council Workshop. It is a 5-year priority plan distributed by the City Manager, and a lot for citizens to digest. For most … Continue reading
I watched the recent Flood Mitigation Task Force meeting held on March 26, 2019, available on Facebook. The focus was streets and drainage. How to prioritize what streets get fixed first. Suggested ranking criteria was first discussed – how many … Continue reading
The Council meeting on March 4th was a quiet affair with one highlight – local resident Dan Sebesta registered his objections to having his engineering qualifications questioned by the the City Manager. The highlight of his talk was his sign: … Continue reading
Back in 2017 City Council approved $50,000 for a branding study, with a no-bid contract to a company owned by a Bellaire resident. The results of that study, a B/leaf logo, a verbal identity, and a green font, were met … Continue reading
Over half of the $23.38 million in bonds approved in 2016 for Water and Wastewater Improvements did not go toward new water or sewer lines. It was devoted to a contract with Siemens for new water meters and improvements to … Continue reading
Don’t be fooled by recent City Council votes on sidewalks. Five foot wide sidewalks are still the standard with street reconstruction. The stand-alone sidewalks have been shelved but the funds have not been redirected by City Council to other projects … Continue reading
NOTE: The State of the City Powerpoint presentation from February 4, 2019, can be found at the end of this article. Despite the large number of speakers at recent City Council meetings who opposed the Spruce/Fifth St project as planned, … Continue reading
Welcome to Bellaire in the first decade of the twenty first century. From 9/11/2001 to Bellaire’s Centennial year of 2008. A new city manager, new parks, more bonds for streets, drainage and sidewalks, aquatics centers and municipal facilities. Zoning changes, … Continue reading
Cost Savings and Future Costs Council sang the praises of city staff at the January 7, 2019 council meeting for some cost savings – the cost for change orders for the Municipal Facilities was reduced to $302,516. So far the … Continue reading
Do We Value Our Small Businesses? Can’t the appearance of downtown Bellaire be improved without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to drive out our longtime businesses? We already have everything we need to remain a successful and … Continue reading
UPDATE 2/18/2019: Find the breakdown for the final proposed cost of $5,200,890.50 for the Spruce/Fifth ($2.5 million) and Maple/Bolivar ($1.76 million) projects – plus $1 million to the engineering companies. About 10% of the 2016 bond issue. The project was … Continue reading
The January 28, 2019, City Council meeting went off like a rocket and just kept climbing. A link to the video of the meeting is available at the end of this article. Please watch the video, you’ll find it interesting.
The highlight of the December 17, 2018, Council meeting was the presentation a Bellaire Master Drainage Concept Plan, beginning with a proposed interlocal agreement among Bellaire, TX-DOT, and the Harris County Flood Control District. Bellaire is located at the east/southeast … Continue reading
City Council Update on Spruce/Fifth St Leads To An Unpleasant Exchange; The 4th Quarter Financial Report Is Available
At the November 19th City Council meeting, Denton Ragland, CEO of the Bellaire Business Association, made a presentation promoting a campaign to encourage residents to ‘Stay Local to Bellaire Resources’ and stay loyal to their local businesses, then City Manager … Continue reading
It was the last decade of the twentieth century. There was much speculation and even foreboding by some that the century’s end might be doomsday… Bellaire in the 1990s was fraught with controversy, criminal charges, and a succession of mayors. … Continue reading
Find information on Bellaire’s recycling program. The wrong items in our recycle bins cost us money! Find tips on other forms of recycling via the Our Environment tab on the menu. A Holiday Note: Did you know that MOST wrapping paper is … Continue reading
At the November 5, 2018, City Council meeting a specific use permit for a car wash business at the corner of Bellaire Blvd and Ferris St. was not approved. The vote was 5 to 2, with Council members Pappas and … Continue reading
2019 Budget is Adopted – Future Bond Program Planning Session – A Possible $47 million Bond Issue in 2019
The Bellaire City Council, City Manager, and City staff discussed the possibility of another bond issue in 2019. The amount proposed by City staff is $47 million. A second bond issue in 2022 was also mentioned, at this point … Continue reading
You’ve heard the phrase ‘Not in my backyard’, right? This Spruce St/Fifth St project is everyone’s back yard. We tend to spend most of our home time in our neighborhood, but just about everyone in the City spends some time … Continue reading
Update – 10/15/2018: Late summer and into the fall of 2018 residents protested and submitted petitions to remove their streets from the projects, and their requests were approved. But most Council members still continued to vote in favor of installing … Continue reading
View the August 13th City Council Session on the Proposed Budget: http://bellairecitytx.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1880&Format=Agenda
The City Council and the City Manager are fond of referring to various plans and studies to justify expenditures, sometimes on questionable projects and more studies. We hear about the Comprehensive Plan, the Branding Study, Terrain Studios and something called … Continue reading
Thursday, May 3, 2018, the Mayor and City Council will hold an all day pre-budget planning session in the Centerpoint Energy Community Center, located over the entrance to the Aquatics Center. For those residents unable to attend the Session you … Continue reading
Why would a City choose to harm its small businesses? Spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so? In November of 2016 Bellaire voters gave the City Council and City Manager a big pot of money – right at … Continue reading
When Bellaire voters approved a bond issue for $24 million dollars for Streets, Drainage, and Sidewalks with the explanation that ‘Projects will address replacement of streets and drainage systems in order to reduce the occurrence of flooding and improve street … Continue reading
As of 2016 the City of Bellaire had over $104 million dollars in outstanding debt, $5600 per person, which is much higher than any of the surrounding municipalities. Almost a quarter of the of the City budget, about $9 million, … Continue reading