The city of Galveston’s budget for the 2019 fiscal year includes more than $86 million in capital improvements, a 14.5 percent increase from the previous year as officials plan major drainage and infrastructure projects.
The capital budget makes up the biggest reason for the increase from 2018’s $228.2 million budget to next year’s $240.2 million budget, Finance Director Mike Loftin said.
“That is 5 percent over last year’s budget, primarily because of the increase in the capital budget,” Loftin said. “The operating budget is actually only six-tenths of a percent higher.”
The Galveston City Council approved the 2019 budget during a regular meeting Thursday afternoon at city hall, 832 25th St.
The city plans several significant projects to improve drainage, water and other infrastructure, according to budget documents.
A third of the $86.5 million capital budget goes to water-related projects, including an $18.2 million water line from the 59th Street pumping station to the airport pumping station.
Another 17 percent of the capital budget is devoted to drainage and sanitation work, each. The capital budget includes plans for street and drainage projects approved by votes in a May 2017 bond election
“We do have two bond sales tentatively planned for our capital improvement plan,” Loftin said.
Property taxes and water and sewer charges account for the greatest share of the city’s revenue.
About $34.3 million, or 30 percent, of the city’s revenues come from property taxes, according to reports in the city of Galveston’s proposed fiscal year 2019 budget document.
City council adopted a property tax rate of $0.561 per $100 of taxable value, slightly less than last year’s rate of more than $0.562.
“That is less than this year’s effective rate,” Loftin said. “From a technical standpoint, we are cutting the tax rate and cutting taxes by adopting that rate today.”
Island Transit’s restored status as an urban transit system allowed federal funding to increase, according to the 2019 budget document highlights.
“Very importantly, the Island Transport subsidy from property tax is down from three years ago,” Loftin said.
Another 31 percent of the city’s revenue, or $35.9 million, comes from the water and sewer charges.
The city began the budget process back in April and May.
The city’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.