December 29, 2017

Looking Back on 2017, Looking Forward as We Rebuild

Looking back on 2017 in Bellaire, it’s impossible to define the year by anything other than Hurricane Harvey.  For many of us, it will linger as the demarcation between our lives as they were and the fresh start it forced upon us.  We will continue to find ourselves referring to nearly everything as “pre-Harvey” and “post-Harvey.”  But as the experiences of other communities following similar disasters have shown, things will get back to normal—albeit a new normal—and sooner than it may seem.  Indeed, they already are.

On the bright side, 2017 also showed us what we’re made of.  The enormity and severity of Harvey’s devastation brought out the best in all of us, and brought us closer together.  We helped our neighbors get through the worst of the storm, and have continued to support each other in the recovery.  Our first responders and city staff from all departments stepped up to the task, without regard to their own Harvey problems at home.  We showed our appreciation for these “Bellaire Brave” with an impressive grassroots effort that raised more than $100,000 in a matter of weeks to help them get back on their feet.  Working together, we’ve overcome immense challenges and it has only made us stronger.

December 11, 2017

Shop Local This Holiday Season

Bellaire Business Association
The Bellaire Business Association supports and promotes area merchants and has recently kicked off its “Shop Local” initiative, urging you to look no further for your holiday shopping needs.  Aside from the convenience of staying nearby and avoiding the hassle and stress of fighting the crowds at the mall, shopping local creates tangible benefits for your very own community.  It’s like giving yourself a gift, and it’s one that keeps on giving.

That we’re often described as a “City of Homes” doesn’t mean our retail sector is unimportant.  Indeed, a healthy commercial property tax base along with the sales taxes local businesses generate directly offset our heavy reliance on residential taxpayers to fund municipal services and projects.  When commerce is lagging, we feel it.  A recent decline in sales tax collections led to an almost 8% decrease in budgeted sales tax revenues for fiscal year 2018, requiring us to make up the difference elsewhere in the General Fund.  Also, many aren’t aware that METRO rebates back to us a portion of the 1% sales tax it collects from Bellaire businesses (the State gets 6.25% and the City the remaining 1%), providing needed funding for city streets and mobility projects.