QUESTIONS FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

1. What is your financial experience?

I was a financial advisor for 20 years. I’ve worked with thousands of advisors, business owners, and individuals to develop plans for college education, retirement, and how to pass money to the next generation. A key part of the process is asking the right questions and listening to the answers to determine goals and differentiate/prioritize needs vs wants. (A process that sounds very similar to City Council budget meetings!)

 

2. What are your thoughts on our property taxes?

I often hear, "Why aren’t we like West University? Their rate is much lower than ours!!"

As a taxpayer, are you more concerned about the property tax rate or the amount you pay? While West University’s rate is lower, the amount each West U household pays is about $400 more due to exemptions (they don’t offer a 20% homestead exemption) and property tax values. *

*Data is from 2022 Budget Workshops and Q&A distributed to council and candidates

 

3. How efficient is the Bellaire budget?

Bellaire is 50% bigger in size than West University, but our budget is only 8% more than West University's. (The city should get credit for doing more with less!) *

*Data is from the 2022 Budget Workshops and Q&A distributed to council and candidates

 

4. What is your opinion about our debt?

I’ve heard a lot about the city’s current debt of 110 million dollars. Here are a few things you may not have heard:

  • 100% of our debt is voter approved

  • The debt is decreasing 5 to 6 million dollars each year from principal payments

  • The current debt will be paid off in 2042/2043

  • The city actively manages our debt. By refinancing, the average interest rate on our outstanding bonds is around 3%. In fact, the bonds that we are refinancing this month are under 2%

*Data is from 2022 Budget Workshops and Q&A distributed to council and candidates

 

5. What can we do about flooding?

 

Flooding is a complicated issue that Bellaire can't solve alone. Bellaire’s Flood Mitigation Task Force recently approved a multi-staged approach to help flooding, starting in Southdale.  We have a unique opportunity to leverage federal and state money to pay for large portions of project(s) that will help Bellaire, but we need action. Every day we delay means less federal/state money for our projects.