This November, Fort Bend County residents may be asked to vote on a $237.3 million facilities bond referendum.
Fort Bend County Commissioners Court met June 19 to discuss a proposed list of 17 projects. None of the draft projects are in Precinct 3, which includes the Katy and Fulshear areas.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers held a citizen feedback meeting at Cinco Ranch Library on June 27 to learn if local residents support such a bond and had any projects they wanted to add to the draft list. Some suggestions his office has received included a performing arts center, senior citizen engagement center, park improvements and a youth center.
Meyers said he supports putting individual project items on the ballot instead of lumping all the projects together for one vote.
At the meeting, the Precinct 3 office also solicited feedback as to whether residents supported a mobility bond or a flood mitigation bond. According to estimates from the county auditor and budget officer, if the facility bond is passed as is, that leaves about $200 million for a future mobility bond and no additional bond funds for flood mitigation without increasing property tax rates.
The auditor and budget officer estimate Fort Bend County can authorize up to $450 million in bonds without a tax rate increase, Meyers said. He added the total tax rate would not be able to decrease for up to five years. It would stay flat at $0.464 per $100 of assessed value, according to the estimates.
“When this proposed bond program was put forward, I did what every elected official should do. I asked, ‘Can we afford it?’” Meyers said. “Unfortunately, what [the county auditor and budget officer] disclosed to me didn’t exactly thrill me.”
At the June 27 meeting and according to Precinct 3’s online survey, residents show more support for a flood bond and a mobility bond than the facility bond, which are Meyer’s priorities for his precinct. About 35 people attended the feedback meeting—including County Judge KP George—and about 150 people had taken the survey.
Meyer's office plans to hold two more citizen feedback events, and all Fort Bend County residents are encouraged to take the online survey, which can be found here: www.precinctthree.com/facilities-bond. The June 27 meeting was livestreamed, and it can be watched here.
Proposed facility projects
Included in the draft of bond projects is a $100 million federal disaster recovery match, which will leverage federal dollars that could create as much as $500 million for flood control mitigation projects, according to the minutes of the June 19 meeting.
Other proposed projects include expanding the juvenile detention center in Richmond—which is mandated by new laws—and a build a new emergency management center.
Another project for $3 million would create an educational exhibit and park at the historic abandoned cemetery discovered at Fort Bend ISD’s James Reese Career and Technical Center construction site early last year. Thanks to the passage of House Bill 4179, Fort Bend County can own, operate and maintain the cemetery where archaeologists discovered at the construction site the historic remains of 95 people, known as the Sugar Land 95, who were part of the Convict Labor Leasing system in the late 1800s.
Here are the draft projects for the $327.3 million facilities bond referendum:
- $100 million federal disaster recovery match for flood projects countywide;
- $30.4 million juvenile detention expansion in Richmond;
- $27.3 multipurpose facility at county fairgrounds in Rosenberg;
- $23.2 million emergency management center in Rosenburg;
- $16 million youth sports activity center in Missouri City;
- $8 million parks repairs and upgrades countywide;
- $7.2 million Precinct 4 annex building in Sugar Land;
- $6.3 million elections administration building in Richmond;
- $3.2 million emergency medical services improvements countywide;
- $3 million south post oak football complex in Precinct 2;
- $3 million education and exhibit building/nature park at the Sugar Land Prison Cemetery;
- $2.4 million gym in Missouri City;
- $2.2 million fairgrounds offices in Rosenberg;
- $2 million Kitty Hollow expansion and upgrades in Missouri City;
- $1 million Mission Bend Passive Park in Precinct 2;
- $1 million Blue Ridge Park renovation in Precinct 2; and
- $1 million pet adoption resource center in Rosenberg.