September 22, 2022

The FY 2023 Budget:  A Collaborative Effort

The fiscal year 2023 budget, adopted unanimously by the City Council, is reflective of the broader economic environment marked by a high rate of inflation and an incredibly tight labor market.  Cities are not immune to these trends, and as costs are rising across the board, so too is the cost of providing municipal services.  This budget prioritizes maintaining service delivery and addressing our most pressing challenges, while holding the nominal tax rate flat, for now the fourth year in a row.

September 14, 2022

CRS Reclassification Process Slowed by FEMA

In my last update on our efforts to get back into the Community Rating System, I passed along to you exactly what FEMA officials had been telling the city staff and CRS consultant:  that we were well on track to achieve the full restoration of our prior classification of 7, effective October 1, 2022.  All along the way staff have consistently been assured they’ve done everything asked of them, by every deadline.  And so imagine their surprise upon being informed last month that FEMA would now be pushing our reclassification out to October 1, 2023.

September 2, 2022

World Trade Center Steel 9/11 Memorial

Appropriately located next to the Fire Station and directly across from Police, an important piece of history is now on display.  The 11-foot section of World Trade Center I-beam was donated to the City of Bellaire in 2017, and has since been in storage while we’ve been working on plans for a privately funded local memorial.  Last fall we were honored to loan the artifact to the Lone Star Flight Museum, where it served as the centerpiece of a special exhibit commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11.  Its return to Bellaire earlier this year was the impetus for a temporary installation plan, to keep it out of storage and accessible to the public, at no cost to the City and requiring only minimal funding from our community partners.

The functional design utilizes the same mounting that was fabricated for the museum exhibit, and also repurposes other materials the City already had on hand.  Piper Whitney Construction, which specializes in permeable paving solutions, graciously donated labor and supplies to build out the site, and Bellaire Public Works then completed the installation in-house.  The Bellaire/Southwest Houston Rotary Club, already a financial supporter of this project, is looking at underwriting signage to be added in the near future.

Our local 9/11 Memorial stakeholder group will continue working on the design and developing a fundraising strategy for a permanent exhibit, to be situated among the trees in the area between the Police Station and Great Lawn.  That location was identified as most conducive to creating a quiet, contemplative space, and as likely necessary to accommodate the more ambitious scale originally envisioned.  However, as the stakeholder group has been refining and scaling down the conceptual design, it remains to be seen whether what’s now the temporary location will end up being permanent.

In the meantime, most importantly this temporary installation gets the piece out of storage and on public display as intended.  It’s visible and approachable, and fitting in its proximity to our Police and Fire departments.  The City and stakeholder group will host a memorial ceremony and dedication this September 11 at 2:00 p.m.