The June 9, 2023, Planning and Zoning meeting was short, but interesting. It included a public hearing regarding proposed ordinance amendments and a presentation of the proposed 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Find a link to the meeting here.
Public comments were encouraged on changes to the following zoning ordinances:
- Through Lots Prohibited, to allow for the approval of through lots if a property meets certain zoning requirements. No public comments.
- To increase the necessary documentation submittal requirements during city plan review related to environmental assessment reporting. No public comments.
- To increase the allowable scoreboard signage area and allow team accolades as apart of the scoreboard signage – to allow team accolades. Two comments.
The Draft CIP FY2023-2027
Each year as Bellaire City Council begins budget discussions for the upcoming fiscal year 5-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) may be updated. A proposed 5-year CIP was presented to P&Z by Joshua Pascua, Capital Projects and Grants Manager in Public Works, on June 8, 2023.
Most totals are tentative. There is a footer on some pages that reads *Project Total is sum of budget shown, plus past expenditures and unexpended FY23 budget. It Here are some highlights:
- Serious drainage issues need to be addressed and Bellaire will be expected to pay for all or some of the projects including a multi-million dollar project for Cypress Ditch, which is located in Houston. Ardurra consultants are involved and there is a grant request in work.
- More waterline improvements are needed. There’s a $3.1 million grant request in work for a portion of the replacement costs.
- The $8 million paid to Siemens for the Wastewater Treatment Plant overhaul a few years ago apparently did not cover all repairs. More are needed.
- City Parks seem to require more funding every year. A $5 million project for Evergreen Park is included. Find an earlier proposal for the park updates here. Thanks to Congresswoman Lizzie Fletcher, a $600,000 grant for park improvements has been received.
- There are a number of new buildings and building repairs on the list, including $9.8 million for a new Public Works building and $11 million for a new Library.
- Also a $479,000 generator, pending a grant request.
- A project to add solar panels to City Hall at a cost of $269k to reduce utility costs. There may be some tax credits associated with that proposal, here’s the ESB proposal for the project. P&Z members expressed some concern over this project.
A similar promise of savings was promised by Siemens when they replaced water meters at a cost of $4.6 million. Good luck finding a simple spreadsheet showing these savings. Find their annual savings report for 2019-2020. Meanwhile Bellaire has paid them $96,435 for the first 2 years of Project Management. Find more on this project here.
Tens of millions in costs are listed in the CIP over the next 5 years. The Chair queried whether this proposed budget was consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and was ssured it is. P&Z members were encouraged to recommend the proposed budget at this meeting.
Bonded debt stands at about $100 million. Debt Service (P&I) will run about $9 million this year. No suggestions for bond issues for now. Stay tuned!