By Elsa Maxey
Touted as an opportunity for citizens to choose whether to invest in quality of life projects that will make Sugar Land an even more attractive destination for residents, business and visitors, a $50 million bond referendum will probably be making it to this November’s ballot for a vote. But first, the Sugar Land City Council will need take action accepting bond project recommendations on July 16, hold a public hearing on August 6, and call for the November 5 bond election on August 20.
In a city council workshop last week on the four proposed bond projects, their components were detailed by Citizens’ Bond Committee volunteer leaders assisted by Karen Daly, the city’s assistant city manager on their fiscal impact. The Citizens’ Bond Committee has been meeting regularly since March to consider project priorities and phase development alongside cost.
Essentially the bond projects are for 1) parkland development along the Brazos River with kayak launches, a pedestrian bridge, shelters, and other amenities known as Brazos River Park Phase II – $13,379,200, 2) new 10 foot wide hike and bike trails with bridges throughout the city with an Imperial connector trail – $9,213,765, 3) a new signature, community sports park in Telfair with tennis courts, basketball courts, a gaga court, a spray ground plus a multipurpose pavilion and more, – $16,802,491, and a 50-acre festival site for large scale events – $4,672,715. About $4.6 million has also been factored in for bond issuance and escalation costs bringing the total to $49,997,371.
At the beginning of the year the Sugar Land City council approved a resolution for the approval of new projects by way of a bond election, referred to as the second bond election in the city’s history. The city reports this is the first time extensive public input has been sought for a bond election, including the work of the Citizens Bond Committee led by co-chairs Jarvis Hollingsworth and Betty Baitland. Others serving on its executive committee include Mary Favre, John Heinemann, Mona Parikh, Michael Schiff, Greg Stirman, Tim Stubenrouch, Rodney Vannerson, and Terry Wang.
Regarding the affect on the city’s tax rate, the city workshop report indicates a one cent impact to the tax rate per year. It will be phased in over five years for the $50 million worth of projects. The tax impact is also reported to cover debt repayment and operations and maintenance costs.