With a low crime rate, clean streets, thriving public/private partnerships, and satisfied citizens, the state of Sugar Land is strong and sweet, according to the latest report.
The annual State of the City address was presented Thursday at the Marriott Hotel in Sugar Land Town Square by Mayor Joe Zimmerman and City Manager Allen Bogard. The event was hosted by the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce.
“This is an exciting time for us to exceed expectations. Sugar Land is a special place,” said Zimmerman.
Added Bogard, “we are blessed in Sugar Land. We are balancing services, needs, and costs. The secret of our success is our 800 champion employees and we are leaner,” Bogard said.
“We closed with a clean audit and have surplus fund tax. That is financial strength,” Bogard said. “With our ability to attract business and increase sales tax revenue, Sugar Land has the second-lowest property tax in the state for a city our size.”
Their optimistic outlook was also confirmed by a recent citizens survey presented to the Sugar Land City Council, which gave the city exceedingly high marks in citizen satisfaction with the quality of police fire and ambulance service (94 percent); trash and recycling services (89 percent); emergency preparedness (85 percent), and quality of wastewater utility services (84 percent).
The survey, conducted every two years by the nationally recognized market research ETC Institute of Kansas, measures and assesses citizen satisfaction with the delivery of major city services and helps set community priorities. Core areas included public safety, public works, parks and recreation, communications, and quality of life. According to the survey results, “91 percent of those surveyed who had an opinion indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with the overall quality of life in their community, a figure well above the United States and Texas averages.”
Zimmerman also took time to recognize the issue that has given the city national attention, the discovery of an unmarked, historic cemetery, often referred to as the Sugar Land 95, uncovered last year during construction of a Fort Bend ISD school site.
“We are committed to preserving that history and continuing to tell the story of Sugar Land,” Zimmerman said.
City officials said they are listening to the public and planning accordingly. As a result, the city realizes that mobility and traffic congestion are top issues.
Here are some highlights:
When Sugar Land annexed Greatwood and New Territory it had to re-bid its contract for the wastewater treatment plants. The new contract saved taxpayers nearly $1 million on clean water.
Crime rates are down. The police department achieved the lowest crime rate on record. They have also installed license plate recognition cameras, and officers now have their own local gun range.
Sugar Land leads the country in internet crimes against children investigations.
Citizen engagement is up. They have increased National Night Out parties with more than 6,100 residents attending citywide.
The city added two ambulances to the fleet as part of annexation.
The 311 center opened in 2018 and helped 46,000 people last year.
The city and First Colony Mall entered into a new public/private partnership to revitalize the outdoor lifestyle area.
“The redevelopment project is an important reinvestment into the city’s largest aggregate sales tax source,” said the mayor.
Renovations include removing an existing fountain for construction of a lawn with shade awnings, digital screens and other amenities which allow for local activities and sports events on the digital screen. Improvements are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.
Later in the year, the city will unveil its 60-year anniversary campaign with opportunities for the public to show why they love Sugar Land. For more information, see the 2018 annual report at http://webtools.sugarlandtx.gov/sl/epub/2018ar/v3.0/index.html.