Things to know from Tuesday's Sugar Landing City Council meeting

The Sugar Land City Council heard from residents opposed to a property tax rate increase during a regular meeting Tuesday night. The council also passed the first reading of an ordinance to annex 241 acres of land and reviewed updates to Sugar Land’s Drought Contingency Plan.

 

Speakers decry tax increases

Three residents addressed the council, each speaking out against an increase in property tax rates for fiscal year 2018.

“I’m so dismayed at what I’ve been hearing,” said Kathleen Zak. “The reason the [sales] tax revenue is down, the reason the oil revenue is down is because people are economizing. Why can’t you economize? Why can’t you cut back? I don’t want to be taxed out of my house.”

The city tax rate accounts for 15 percent of residents’ property tax bills, according to meeting documents. Another 21 percent goes to the county, and 64 percent goes to the school district, according to the documents.

In an effort to contain property tax increases to residents, the city has increased homestead exemptions in the past decade, according to meeting documents. The city’s property tax rate has decreased from $0.50 per $100 valuation in 1993 to $0.31595 per $100 valuation today, according to meeting documents.

A separate public hearing was held for the 2017 annual assessment of Enclave at Riverpark Public Improvement District, which was created in 2014 to fund improvements to the Enclave at Riverpark subdivision, an approximately 54-acre single-family residential development of 130 residential lots, according to meeting documents.

The residents in the subdivision pay the city property tax and also a flat fee for infrastructure that is specific to their development, said Jennifer Brown, the city’s director of finance. The public hearing was scheduled so residents may comment on the set fee for this year.

Meeting documents state the 2017 assessment is proposed to be $1,005 per lot, a $6 decrease from 2016. The final assessment amount will be set in September. 

 

Legislation impacts the city

In a report to council members on legislative action in Austin, intergovernmental relations manager Rick Ramirez said three bills passed during the recent regular session will improve Sugar Land.

House Bill 931 allows Texas cities to enter into agreements with electric utility companies to access the companies’ utility corridors, allowing cities to operate hike and bike trails on land owned and occupied by the utilities, Ramirez said.

HB 2445 qualifies the city to receive a 10-year tax rebate of state hotel occupancy taxes and state sales and use taxes to finance the construction of a hotel or conference center, which would save the city money in construction costs, he said.

Another bill, HB 4297, is specific to Sugar Land and creates a commercial management district surrounding Telfair Tract 5 near the Smart Financial Centre, Ramirez said.

“The main goal for that management district is to be able to coordinate parking and security for that area,” he said.

Other bills passed by the legislature could prove costly to the city, Ramirez said.

For example, to comply with Senate Bill 1004, which allows wireless companies set up telecom equipment in cities’ rights-of-way, city staffers spent a lot of time devising a plan to address this issue, Ramirez said.

 

Annexation of 241 acres of land considered

City council approved a first reading of an ordinance that would annex 241.175 acres of land adjacent to the New Territory Municipal Utility Districts, placing the annexed land in Sugar Land District 2, according to meeting documents.

 

Drought contingency plan discussed

Water resources manager Katie Clayton presented to city council updates for Sugar Land’s drought contingency plan including details about the additional water systems that the city will acquire through annexation of Greatwood and New Territory.

The city’s current plan was revised and adopted in 2014 and an update is required every five years, according to the Texas Administrative Code, Clayton said. However, with the annexation taking place in December, an earlier update was necessary.

The updated plan includes changes to lawn and garden watering schedules during declared droughts, and the authorization of the city manager to initiate or terminate the plan as necessary, Clayton said.
SHARE THIS STORY


MOST RECENT

As of April 3, Fort Bend County is reporting 221 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, up from 194 just one day prior. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Latest coronavirus news in Sugar Land, Missouri City: Confirmed cases in Fort Bend County top 200

Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments from around Sugar Land, Missouri City, Fort Bend County and Fort Bend ISD.

Houston Airport System officials expect March passenger data to be significantly lower than in other months. Foot traffic at IAH was light March 24. (Emily Heineman/Community Impact Newspaper)
TSA limits checkpoints at George Bush Intercontinental Airport; Houston Airport System expects significant decline in March passengers

With low passenger travel amid the coronavirus pandemic, Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at George Bush Intercontinental Airport have been consolidated to make better use of resources and personnel, Houston Airport System officials said.

Prices are more of an indicator of real estate activity during the coronavirus pandemic than location or geography, a local Realtor said.
ROUNDUP: 5 recent coronavirus stories from the South Houston area readers should know

Catch up on some of the latest coronavirus updates for the South Houston area below.

The $2 trillion federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act—also known as the CARES Act—provides millions of dollars in relief to small businesses nationwide. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce shares information about small-business relief programs

Community Impact Newspaper sat in on the chamber's webinar in order to share answers to frequently asked questions about the CARES Act.

Volunteers unload food donations for the Montgomery County Food Bank. (Courtesy Drive West Communications)
ExxonMobil makes $250,000 donation to local food banks

The energy company said the Houston Food Bank will receive $200,000, including $50,000 in gasoline gift cards. The Montgomery County Food Bank will also receive $50,000.

The University of Houston at Sugar Land will offer third-year business classes starting in the fall. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of Houston’s Sugar Land campus to offer junior-level business courses this fall

Bauer Dean Paul Pavlou said the decision to expand Bauer classes to the Sugar Land campus was in part because more than 25% of students enrolled at Bauer are from the Fort Bend County area.

Missouri City looks ahead after firing city manager

Missouri City City Council is moving forward with plans to hire a new city manager after firing Anthony Snipes from the role in response to allegations made by Mayor Yolanda Ford.

(Beth Marshall/Community Impact Newspaper)
PEOPLE FEATURE: Former intern Mike Goodrum steps into Sugar Land city manager role

Formerly the city manager of Coral Springs, Florida, Goodrum got his start in city government as an intern for the Sugar Land Parks & Recreation Department.

Left to right: Salim Nathani, Noureen Nathani and Sadruddin Currimbhoy are members of Bright Offerings' board. Bright Offerings aims to economically empower people through apprenticeship programs. (Claire Shoop/Community Impact Newspaper)
NONPROFIT: Bright Offerings connects candidates to companies and colleges for apprenticeships

Bright Offerings, a Sugar Land-based nonprofit, has worked to economically empower 75 job candidates through its apprenticeship program in the past two years.

Over the last decade, Fort Bend County’s population grew from 584,699 to 811,688. (Courtesy Pexels)
Fort Bend County one of fastest-growing counties in Texas, United States last decade

In the last decade, Fort Bend County's population grew by 38.8%, making it the fifth-fastest-growing county in the state by percent growth.

The employees of The Adventure Begins Comics, Games & More gather their characters together in "Animal Crossing: New Horizons." (Kate Looney/The Adventure Begins Comics, Games & More)
5 recent business stories from the Houston area readers should know

Read updates on how local businesses are reacting in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prices are more of an indicator of real estate activity during the coronavirus pandemic than location or geography, a local Realtor said.
Q&A: Houston-area Realtor describes changes in business during coronavirus outbreak

Prices are more of an indicator of real estate activity during the coronavirus pandemic than location or geography, a local Realtor said.