City Fathers recognize Richmond needs larger tax base
By LeaAnne Klentzman
“We never want to lose sight of our history, the citizens we serve, and the warm sense of community we enjoy,” said Terri Vela, City Manager of Richmond. “But we do want to grow and provide our citizens the amenities and services that they expect and deserve. Expanding our sales tax revenue base by bringing quality retail into our City is vital to achieving the future we envision for Richmond.”
According to Vela, “Richmond has partnered with The Retail Coach, a national retail recruitment and development consulting firm that has helped local governments, chambers of commerce and economic development organizations expand retail in more than 100 Texas communities as well as cities throughout the United States during the past 10 years.”
Richmond, the city that sits at a bend of the Brazos River giving rise to the county’s name, has long seemed to have been forgotten. It is a town with deep roots but little in the way of a tax base. Most of the property in the city is government buildings, churches and schools. Vela said, “Richmond’s vibrant Texas history and western culture dates back to Stephen F. Austin’s settlement in 1822 on the banks of the Brazos River, which runs through the town and offers unique retail development opportunities. As the oldest community and the county seat of Fort Bend County, the City also has an established downtown district frequented by not only local residents, but the 1,500 county employees working in the new $74-million-dollar courthouse completed in July.”
Aaron Farmer, National Project Director for The Retail Coach said, his firm is looking forward to the opportunity to work with city manager Terri Vela and a leadership team that includes Mayor Hilmar Moore, Commissioner Bill Dostal and Commissioner Gary Gillen.
Often this type of progress is a challenge, however, the city of Richmond is trying to take the steps forward by not losing the rich and colorful history of its past.