Last month, when the city of Sugar Land released its budget for the 2020 fiscal year, it was with the understanding that some desired projects were outside the purview under the current tax rate.
The city is preparing to place an item on the ballot in November to remedy that issue.
City spokesperson Doug Adolph said the city council will hold a special meeting Aug. 14 to decide whether to ask voters for a $90 million general obligation bond.
The money would be used to address traffic and mobility, drainage, public safety and possibly an expanded animal shelter.
“These are all projects that have been identified by our residents,” Adolph said. “However, we do not currently have the capability in our tax rate to fund them.”
The nearly $270 million budget released last month already included more than $40 million set aside for capital projects approved by voters in a 2013 parks bond, according to a July news release from the city. Additionally, the proposed five-year capital improvement plan factored in the aforementioned bond program to address projects prioritized by residents’ recent feedback and following Hurricane Harvey and an early May rain event – with over half of the proposed package going toward drainage improvements. If the bond item is pursued by city council and approved by voters, Adolph said it would come with a 3 percent tax increase and equate to about $10 more per month per homeowner. If approved, the tax increase would be implemented in the first year.
“Going into the fiscal year 2020 budget process, our priorities are to ensure that the upcoming budget reflects the priorities our residents have told us are important to them, builds trust within the community, and inspires pride in our hometown,” Mayor Joe Zimmerman said in a news release from the city.
Bond funds would go toward items such as drainage improvements, a public safety training facility, a public safety dispatch and emergency operations facility, an animal shelter expansion and road projects. According to Adolph, $53.2 million is targeted for drainage projects in areas such as Oyster Creek, Greatwood and Telfair, while $26.3 million would go toward public safety projects and about $10.6 million would be invested in mobility projects such as the widening of University Boulevard.
Sugar Land’s city council is in the process of finalizing the projects and amounts to be considered by voters, with projects to be funded in future-year capital programs to begin in fiscal years 2021-23.