The Humble City Council approved their budget Sept. 13, and among the approved items were property tax and water rate increases for residents.

– Seniors to benefit from city policies –

Mayor Merle Aaron stated, “Jason (City Manager Jason Stuebe) worked extremely hard on the budget, trimming all the fat off and this is a very good budget. Each department with Jason in the lead did a great job on the budget.”

In fiscal year 2017-2018 the tax rate was 0.225 per $100 valuation. The new tax rate for fiscal year 2018-2019 is 0.2485.

The water rates were also approved, and Aaron had this to say regarding those rates: “We have to purchase 30 percent of our water from the city of Houston, so whenever their prices increase, so do ours. We must pass the cost on to our citizens, but we try to keep it to a minimum. In fact, our seniors pay a fixed rate and we absorb the cost for that.”

Private citizen, Arliss Bentley, addressed the council by stating, “I’ve lived here 45 years and I don’t want to move, so I’m here to please improve our city. On page 16 I noticed that it’s a request for 6 new positions. They are recommending $632,979.00. This is over a half a million dollars for a budget at one time. I was just wondering is there that drastic need? Is there a possibility that maybe we can strike two, add one each year?

Aaron responded by saying, “We are replacing several of our retired firefighters and so this is actually a minimum amount that we need … We’ve put it off and we’ve kicked that can down the road for years and this is something that we are just going to have to address.”

The Rankin Road street widening project is being spearheaded by ARKK Engineers. John D. Rudloff, senior project manager and principal engineer said, “We will widen it 25 feet, improve the waterline and basins, and the pedestrian bridge will be recycled. We will bring it to much better condition than it is right now.”

Kingwood Park and Summer Creek high school students made a presentation to the council regarding their joint effort, Big Heroes Tiny Homes. The homes will be built by students of both schools to provide shelter for homeless veterans. The students have gained the support of Humble ISD and the private sector. Summer Creek Principal, Brent McDonald, was at the meeting to support the students including senior Natalia Andrade, who showcased the 3D model she created with the help of local architects.