The city of Sugar Land recently unveiled its budget for fiscal year 2020. Its proposed budget includes $231.6 million for operations and $40.5 million for capital projects.
According to the city, funds alloted for the next fiscal year will place an emphasis on programs and projects that directly benefit residents and enhance the quality of life in Sugar Land, such as drainage and public safety.
Some of the factors driving the need for the city’s strategies to evolve include slowing growth as the city approaches build-out, residential value growth outpacing commercial growth in recent years, increasing service costs, aging infrastructure and the volatility of sales tax revenues.
Other challenges include the absorption of budget cuts and constraint in recent years that has left many increasing operational needs and priority capital projects unfunded; the impacts of unfunded mandates and recently passed legislation; and needing to take steps to secure the city’s long-term water supply.
“Our residents continue to tell us through feedback such as our most recent citizen satisfaction survey that investments in mobility, public safety and drainage are important to ensure the continuation of the Sugar Land Way, which is a commitment to meeting residents’ expectations – both in terms of the service levels and the value for tax dollar we provide,” city manager Allen Bogard said in a news release. “The proposed budget funds the projects that are most important to our residents – all with only a modest increase in the average residential tax bill and a lean but championship workforce.”
The proposed fiscal year 2020 capital improvement program (CIP) priorities include the completion of the remaining 2013 voter-approved parks bond projects through a planned tax rate increase of approximately 1 cent and the strategic use of an increase in the homestead exemption from 10 to 12 percent to offset the residential tax bill impact.
Other priority projects include Settlers Park drainage improvements, major street rehabilitation and capital projects funded through utility revenues to implement the Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP) and prepare to meet additional mandated surface-water requirements.
The proposed five-year CIP further plans for a general obligation bond program of approximately $90 million to address projects that are not affordable within the current tax rate, including drainage, mobility, public safety and a new animal shelter. The city council is in the process of finalizing the projects and amounts for consideration by voters, with projects to be funded in future year capital programs to begin in fiscal years 2021 to 2023, if approved.
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