Voter approved charter change means growth ahead for Richmond

By Betsy Dolan 

The Central Fort Bend Chamber and the Rose-Rich Auto Mile presented the 2013 State of Richmond Address Wednesday at Fort Bend Country Club in Richmond. Shown are: Central Fort Bend Chamber Board Chair Joe Freudenberger; Richmond Mayor Evalyn Moore and Chamber President Shanta Kuhl.

In her first state of the city address, Richmond Mayor Evalyn Moore told a crowd of 200 people at the Fort Bend Country Club on June 12 that her late husband’s favorite song was “Blue Skies” by Willie Nelson.

“I see nothing but blue skies ahead for our city”, Moore said. “That’s the way Hilmar felt and that is the way that I feel. Richmond has so many things going right.”

Moore was sworn in Dec. 17 as Richmond’s first woman mayor, succeeding her husband, Hilmar Moore, 92, who was the longest-serving mayor in the nation until his death on Dec. 4.

In May, Richmond voters approved a new city charter that makes Richmond a home-rule city and allows for increased annexation powers and the creation of a planning and zoning commission.

June 18 was a historic day for the city as the Richmond City Commission held their first meeting under the recently adopted charter.

Richmond will take a full-year to make the transition, Moore said, and will rely on the expertise of neighboring cities as Richmond develops its comprehensive master plan.

“This election was about stagnation and status quo versus growth through annexation,” Moore said. “With the home-rule charter we can collect more tax revenues and citizens have more options.”

In her State of the City speech, Moore highlighted a 12.9% sales tax increase from 2012, a 5% jump in home values and a 22% decrease in crime since 2009. The city has also unveiled a new website that allows citizens greater access to express concerns.

The city is working on a $1.2 million dollar bond issue that would help pay for road, water and infrastructure projects. Richmond is working on a partnership with Rosenberg to meet required water conservation efforts. Widening of Golf View Drive, a partnership with Fort Bend County, will begin soon as will widening on Williams Way and Front Street. All road projects should be finished by 2015.

“Richmond can’t be about the status quo any longer,” Moore said. “We need to be striving ahead not struggling to keep up.”

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