Sales tax revenue was down in Houston during the latest monthly distribution.

The Houston City Council set a property tax rate Monday that will lower bills when they arrive later this fall.

The rate – .3433 cents per $100 assessed valuation – is a drop of about 19 percent from the previous year when the figure was .4225. Property owners will find the general fund rate at .3227 cents per $100 assessed valuation. A debt service rate is .0206 cents per $100 assessed valuation. It’s the second consecutive year that the figure has decreased, reported City Administrator Larry Sutton.

That matter was among items discussed by the six-member council and mayor.

The board also tentatively approved a rezoning request at North Industrial and Holder drives that would change the designation for property west of a house there from industrial to residential. Making the request were Jack and Susan Warkentin, the subdivision developers.

In other matters, members:

-Continue work to hire a new police chief. Joe Kirkman retires next week. The deadline to submit an application was last Friday.

-Approved an ordinance that will allow the city to seek property required as part of proposed improvements to the Houston Memorial Airport. An engineering firm will hire a consultant to acquire property.

-Learned that the city continues to study sewer system improvements as part of a major upgrade, which includes construction of a new wastewater treatment plant, line work and attention for some lift stations. Work also is under review as part of a planned new industrial park east of the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce fairgrounds. One proposal might result in extending sewer lines using gravity feed, which would allow the city to eliminate a substation at Plainview Drive.

-Learned that right-of-way on a new city street, Lilly Avenue, has been seeded. The road connects Holder Drive with West Highway 17. Watering is under way.

-Heard that heavy truck traffic will result in the need to make pavement repairs on a street leading to the city’s new wastewater treatment plant. McClanahan Construction, the contractor, expects to haul 6,000 yards of dirt fill to the facility.

-Learned the budget process will begin soon for fiscal year 2011. Department heads will develop budget needs as the first step.



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