The Missouri City City Council voted Oct. 7 to approve the proposed 7.2 percent property tax rate increase from $0.5448 to $0.57375 to help implement a five-person police motorcycle traffic unit, hire one additional fire fighter and adjust the pay structure within the public safety departments to allow for salary raises.
“One of the city’s [goals]is to ensure we can retain key employees by providing development and career progression opportunities, recognition and to assure all employees that we will remain market competitive in all positions, especially in regard to police and fire staff,” City Manager Ed Broussard said.
As a result of the rate increase, Missouri City property owners will pay an annual average of $46.37 more in taxes over last year based on the average home value of about $160,160.
More than 50 property owners turned out to speak at the Oct. 7 meeting for or against the tax rate increase. Several residents commended council members for their dedication to public safety, while others spoke out against the fiscal responsibility of the city government related to costs associated with the Quail Valley Golf Course and past projects.
Unlike other cities that typically approve their budgets in September, the 2014 fiscal year for Missouri City runs from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. City council approved the budget in June 2013 based on tax roll projections, and the initial tax rate was proposed at $0.5835. Tax rolls from the Fort Bend County Appraisal District were submitted July 1 and revealed the proposed tax rate to be above the rollback rate, Broussard said.
The recently approved $0.57375 includes the maintenance and operations rate of $0.38035 and the interest and sinking rate of $0.19337. Sales tax revenue for Missouri City has increased more than 9 percent over last year to about $6.8 million. Sales tax is expected to increase by another 6.8 percent for the 2014 fiscal year, according to the city.
Of Missouri City’s $35.5 million general fund, about 57 percent is allocated for public safety with 35 percent and 22 percent going to the police and fire departments, respectively. The 2014 budget calls for about $35.47 million in expenditures.