For many years it seems, Missouri City residents have grown accustomed to not expecting much from their city and its government. Sugar Land and Stafford may have their event centers or ball team or whatever and Pearland may experience unbelievable population and commercial growth, but Missouri City residents have learned to be content with much less significant events and headlines. But, it really doesn’t have to be that way. Certainly, Missouri City is a bedroom community with a smaller tax base and has less of the open space for development that these other cities have. However, what is increasingly evident from everyone’s perspective is that these other nearby cities are more progressive, aggressive and take the initiative while Missouri City government seems to just exist and get by. Is this not true and why? One particular contributing factor stands out.
Missouri City’s lack of revenues and funding are becoming increasingly evident to all our residents, especially due to the animal shelter fiasco, which the city could have resolved many years ago by just properly funding it. Sure, the city has enough cash reserves and wins financial awards all the time but what the city does not have is money to do the extra stuff, like incentivize interesting development or build new city offices around a town center or the myriad other amazing things that our neighboring cities have accomplished.
We are all trained and encouraged to look forward and not back and expect better things but this particular situation might be one of those, which the city is just stuck with, as it has been for years. Two situations have caused the city’s tight financial scenario to happen. The first is being hamstrung by a Metro contract that drains away about one-quarter of the city’s sales tax revenues. Its increasingly certain that the city will get almost nothing from its $60 million contribution to this Harris County Transportation bureaucracy and that the rail link to Missouri City is just a pipe dream, at best. City leaders lack the will to break the contract or lead us out of it because of the political consequences of this horribly bad decision to commit the city’s limited resources. The second cause of the city’s bad financial straits was the decision to fund acquisition of the Quail Valley Golf Course and its surrounding amenities adding $30 million of debt and debt service to the city’s precarious finances. Again, a tremendously stupid decision and one the city will continue to pay for indefinitely, draining operating revenues for years to come.
We, as residents need to voice our concerns and work for a better, more competitive city government not hamstrung by past decisions and willing to take whatever steps are necessary to resolve our city’s financial problems.
Howard E. Moline