September 28, 2021

Workshops Streamline Budget Adoption

The perhaps surprising takeaway from Council’s adoption last week of the fiscal year 2022 budget is how little discussion there was, and how few amendments were offered, before the final vote.  Of course, Council had previously spent long hours thoroughly reviewing and debating various aspects of the draft budget through a series of workshops, and in doing so certain cuts had already been made.  There’d been a lot of talk about further cuts, setting the stage for a contentious vote, but ultimately when the time came virtually none were proposed, even by those who voted against the budget.  And of the two that were, the one amendment that didn’t pass represented less than one half of one percent of the total.  Overall, the process worked and led to a fairly straightforward outcome.

September 14, 2021

Cleaning Up After Nicholas

It got a bit rough at times last night, but overall Bellaire fared pretty well.  Tropical Storm Nicholas, a Category 1 hurricane at landfall, was for us a wind event more than anything else.  City crews have been out this morning conducting their initial damage assessments and assisting residents as needed.

While the majority of Bellaire did not lose power, we do have some isolated outages, apparently resulting from fallen trees.  CenterPoint reports some 440,000 customers are without power across its service area, and that the restoration process is already underway.  The natural gas distribution system is functioning normally, although residents with uprooted trees should check to ensure their underground gas lines were not affected.

Solid waste and recycling collection and other non-essential services remain suspended today, and city offices are closed.  We should be back to business as usual tomorrow.  For the latest updates please check our emergency alert page, and keep an eye out for further announcements by Notify Me.

On the whole Nicholas could have been much worse for us.  We’re thankful for that, but also stand ready to help our neighbors who weren’t as fortunate.  We also appreciate, as always, the dedicated professionals in our Bellaire Emergency Operations Center, which include not only our first responders and Public Works crews, but employees from all departments who step up to keep us safe through extreme weather events like this.  When you see them out on the street today, be sure to say thanks for all they do for us.

September 13, 2021

Ready for Tropical Storm Nicholas

We should all be taking this storm seriously, but as of now there’s no reason to panic.  The most likely scenario is localized street flooding—remember, our streets are designed to hold excess water during periods of intense rainfall—and there’s no indication of widespread structural flooding in our area at this time.  Conditions can change rapidly, though, so we mustn’t let our guards down.  Today you should be finishing up your preparations if you haven’t already, ahead of the heavy rains expected later tonight and into tomorrow.

Planning for the storm’s impacts has been somewhat of a challenge over the past few days, with divergent models pointing to markedly different outcomes.  The Bellaire Emergency Operations Center has been monitoring the forecasts all weekend and has begun implementing our emergency management plan.  This morning the EOC will transition to a Level II—High Readiness activation, and then we expect by this evening to be at Level I—Maximum Readiness.

City services, including solid waste collection, are proceeding as normal today, at least through the early afternoon.  So if today is your trash day (outside the Loop) you can go ahead and put it out.  Tomorrow and Wednesday, however, are looking doubtful.  Please be sure to bring in any uncollected trash bags and other loose items, to keep them out of the storm drains.  Report any blocked inlets to Public Works at (713) 662-8170.

While the worst of Nicholas isn’t expected to reach us until the overnight hours, this evening’s City Council meeting is being canceled as a precaution, and to help keep people off the roads.  The City Council is next regularly scheduled to meet a week from tonight, September 20.

Stay tuned to city communications for updates on facility closures and service interruptions.  We’ll be posting information as it becomes available on our Tropical Storm Nicholas emergency alert page, and will send out mass notifications as necessary through PrepareBellaire and Notify Me.  Above all else, please be safe.

September 10, 2021

Never Forget:  Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Flight Museum

Reflecting back on that terrible day in 2001, we each have our own memories and experiences and stories to tell.  We remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news, and the innumerable ways the terrorist attacks impacted us all and forever changed our lives.  Glued to our TV sets for weeks and months after, we witnessed the capacity of mankind to do evil, but also the power we possess to do good, to unite and come together in response to tragedy and to support one another through difficult times.  Reflecting back on that terrible day in 2001, it still gives me chills.

Now 20 years on, I find I’ve gained the added perspective of a parent trying to make this critical event in our history more relatable, more personal to my kids, who weren’t yet born when it happened.  What came to be defined as our post-9/11 world is, in fact, the only world they’ve ever known.  As Americans, and as human beings, I want them to recognize and understand this is part of their story, too.

September 3, 2021

CRS Open House and Community Discussion - Sept. 8

City staff continue working to correct the deficiencies that resulted in the temporary downgrade of our Community Rating System classification and loss of flood insurance discount for the coming renewal year.  Direct public engagement is an important part of the response, and to that end the City will be hosting an Open House and Community Discussion next Wednesday, September 8, at City Hall.

Representatives from FEMA, Tetra Tech (the City’s CRS consultant) and Development Services will be on hand to answer questions and provide detailed information.  Residents are invited to sign up for an appointment, in person or virtual, to talk with the experts about their concerns and review their individual circumstances, or may simply stop by anytime during the Open House, from 1:00-5:00.  The Community Discussion is scheduled for 5:30-6:30, and will feature a presentation followed by an opportunity for two-way dialogue.  (Instructions to participate remotely in the Community Discussion are provided on the City website, here.)

As fully acknowledged, this situation represents an unacceptable failure and Bellaire property owners are right to be upset.  But the City isn’t running away from the problem, has taken responsibility for it, and is working hard to fix it as soon as possible.  We hope you’ll come by on Wednesday, and please continue sending your questions and comments to the team at

September 1, 2021

Telephonic Participation in Public Meetings Now Limited to Advisory (Non-Statutory) Boards

Effective today, Governor Abbott has ended the temporary Open Meetings Act suspension that has allowed governmental bodies to meet telephonically during the pandemic.  This means you’ll have to come in person if you wish to speak during public comments at meetings of the City Council and of our boards and commissions governed by state law:  the Board of Adjustment, Building and Standards Commission, and Planning and Zoning Commission.  For our other boards, however, telephonic participation will remain available.