Sugar Land City Manager Allen Bogard recently submitted to city council a proposed $260.4 million budget for fiscal year 2017.
The focus of the proposed budget maintains existing service levels but adds no new services except for the completion of Brazos River Park and the Festival Site, projects approved by voters in 2013.
Anticipating higher property values from the Fort Bend County Appraisal District, City Council raised the homestead exemption to 10 percent in June – a measure that provides targeted tax cuts to homeowners by lowering the amount of home value subjected to the city’s property tax rate.
Final values are not available until the end of July, but the budget anticipates a 3 percent increase in the average residential tax bill; that equals about $28 per year. Without the increased homestead exemption, the average bill would have increased $51, so the exemption represents a $23 tax cut to residents.
Water and wastewater rates remain unchanged for a sixth consecutive year, while residential solid waste and recycling costs will increase 77 cents per month to $18 based on the city’s contractual cost with Republic Services.
The proposed budget funds a workforce of 722.5 full-time employees. Proposed positions address the growing demands for service in parks and recreation, neighborhood and environmental services, economic development, tourism and the Sugar Land Regional Airport.
The focus of the budget is to maintain the city’s high quality services. Recent flooding has reaffirmed the focus on drainage efforts that helped to reduce or eliminate structural flooding in the city. Significant drainage projects are planned in Covington Woods, the Highlands and Sugar Creek in the coming year, while Williams Trace is slated for reconstruction from Austin Parkway to Highway 6.
Residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback to city council during a public hearing scheduled for Aug. 16. A series of budget workshops will be held throughout the month of August and are open to the public. The proposed budget will be available on the City’s website www.sugarlandtx.gov/budget.