At the Sept. 23 City Council meeting, council members unanimously voted to approve the 2019-2020 budget and tax rate. The budget has been increased by 13 percent, but residents will see lower tax rates. The new tax rate is $.379 on every $100 of assessed valuation, a decrease from last year’s $0.486 per $100.

Revenue from new developments like Cane Island enabled the city to lower the tax rate to individual citizens while increasing the budget.

The new budget accounts for several flood-remediation and prevention projects, parks and beautification projects and increased police and fire personnel. The Katy Police Department will be gaining two new officers, and the Katy Fire Department will get four new firefighters.

At the same meeting, City Council unanimously appointed Chris Harris to the position of mayor pro tem. Harris, who was elected Council Member at Large in 2018 was nominated for the position of mayor pro tem by Mayor Bill Hastings, but city council denied the nomination at the July 8 meeting.

At the time, the position was held by Durran Dowdle, who was appointed to the position in 2017 under former mayor Chuck Brawner.

At the July 8 meeting, council members Janet Corte and Frank Carroll III voted against the appointment, requesting that the vote be postponed until the 2019-2020 budget was passed.

Hastings tagged Harris’ nomination for the Sept. 23 meeting in consideration of the budget acceptance, and the nomination was approved.

Harris stated that he’s honored that the nomination was approved, and he’s happy that it was a unanimous vote. “We are ready to move forward and continue all the great things that are going on in the City of Katy,” Harris said. “I plan to be a unifying voice. And I’ll be working very hard to represent the mayor as he wishes, and at the same time representing my constituents on city council.”

Given the expanded budget and projects on the horizon, Harris noted that it’s important that city council work together. “I'm glad to move forward,” said Harris. “We’ve got so many great things going on drainage wise and in public safety and beautification projects. It’s a good thing to be able to help the mayor on a day-to-day to accomplish his agenda and also the legislative goals of the council, so I think it'll be a great, great combination.”