Missouri City staff recommends 3-cent tax rate increase to council

Missouri City staff recommended during Monday night's regular meeting City Council adopt a total property tax rate of $0.63 per $100 valuation for the 2018 tax year—the revenues from which will be invested in priorities and obligations, such as fleet and technology replacements, park and facilities maintenance and public safety improvements.

The proposed rate—a 3-cent increase from the current tax rate of $0.60 per $100 valuation—will be the highest tax rate for the city in a 10-year period, according city data. It could generate an additional $3.48 million in tax revenue. Property owners with homes valued at $50,000-$300,000 could face annual tax increases of $15-$90. The average value of a home in Missouri City is $231,882.

Compared to neighboring cities, such as Pearland and League City—with current rates of $0.685059 per $100 valuation and $0.565 per $100 valuation, respectively—Missouri City falls somewhere in the middle, said Edena Atmore, Missouri City’s chief financial officer.

Council Member Jeffrey Boney, representing District B, said residents should remember that other cities like Sugar Land have lower tax rates—currently at $0.31762 per $100 valuation—because they rely more on sales tax revenue.

The staff presentation indicated the proposed budget for FY 2019 includes $51 million in total expenditures. However, the data is not yet definitive, City Communications Director Stacie Walker said.

Another thing to consider is that voters approved last November to shift the city’s fiscal year from July 1-June 30 to Oct. 1-Sept. 30, said City Manager Anthony Snipes.

“One of the challenges with a 15-month budget is you have to raid the fund balance in order to cover the costs to get you from July 1 to Sept. 30,” Snipes said. “We’re estimating that, for that three months, our extended budget goes to $60 million, but we only have the revenue to cover about $55 million.”

Staff has already cut a total of $2.1 million in costs when reviewing departmental budgets, Snipes said.

The city should look beyond cutting costs as it only puts a Band-Aid on the problem, said Yolanda Ford, council member and mayor pro tem.

“We’re already working on the bare minimum,” Ford said. “We have less staff than we need to operate on a day-to-day basis.”

One way to generate more funding for the city depends on a strategy to approach economic development, Ford said.

“[We can] look at what we have—the 15 percent of land development that we do have left—and be very conscious of what we are encouraging to come in for development, so those businesses can increase our tax base,” she said. “We can’t keep going constantly to the residents, asking for more money from property taxes, because that’s not really solving the problem.”

The city is making progress in growing the commercial tax base, said Joe Esch, director of economic development.

“On average in the last 20 years, we do less than one project per year in economic development,” Esch said. “This year, we’ve had six.”

These projects include anticipated openings for a Best Buy distribution center, a Comcast regional service center, a NatureBest food processing facility and the redevelopment of an existing shopping center in the Quail Valley community.

Other budget considerations include planned capital projects related improving the city's drainage, public safety facilities, parks, water treatment and infrastructure, Assistant City Manager Scott Elmer said. After FY 2019, there is no more capital funding for parks and recreation or transportation projects.

City Council may propose another bond program in 2023 as the city's capacity to sell and issue bonds improves in the next five years, Elmer said.

Another special meeting to continue budget discussions is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, at City Hall, 1522 Texas Parkway, Missouri City.
By Renee Yan
Renee Yan graduated May 2017 from the University of Texas in Arlington with a degree in journalism, joining Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in July.


The first day of school in Fort Bend ISD is Aug. 11. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Final countdown: Here is when Fort Bend ISD students return for 2021-22 school year

Are you ready for the start of the 2021-22 school year? With just a couple weeks remaining before school starts, Fort Bend ISD students and families are counting down the final days of summer.

At just under $300 million in total, the proposed budget will be discussed through the next couple of months and will be up for approval by Sept. 21. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Proposed budget for Sugar Land includes possible $0.01 tax increase

At just under $300 million in total, the proposed budget will be discussed through the next couple of months and will be up for approval by Sept. 21.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Texas Medical Center coronavirus updates: Average testing positivity rate nears 10% after sharp increase

Over 97% of people nationwide who are being hospitalized because of the disease are unvaccinated.

The Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas has continued to meet for rehearsals and performances throughout the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas)
Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas to begin 40th anniversary season Aug. 1

Interested in joining the Fort Bend Boys Choir of Texas? The nonprofit organization is holding auditions for boys ages 6-14 as it aims to rebuild membership following the COVID-19 pandemic.

As variants are isolated and identified, Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass believes the vaccines available can handle identified variants (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
'The vaccines we have are effective against all the variants out there': Houston Methodist's Dr. Ian Glass discusses variants, vaccinations

As Houston Methodist identified its first case of the lambda variant July 19, Dr. Glass believes vaccines can handle known variants.

Peter Lake (left), chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and Brad Jones, interim president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, provided an update on state regulators' electric grid redesign efforts in Austin on July 22. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Regulators: Texas electric grid prepared for potentially record-breaking demand next week; 'once-in-a-generation reforms' underway

The heads of the agencies in charge of the Texas electric grid met in Austin on July 22 to provide updates on their grid reform efforts.

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro, a new restaurant in Sugar Land, serves a variety of sushi options. (Courtesy Pexels)
Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro opens in Sugar Land

Takara Sushi & Asian Bistro is now open in the former location of Azuma on the Lake.

Lumin Lash, a eyebrow extension and beauty services business, opened in Missouri City on July 15. (Courtesy Lumin Lash)
Eyelash extension business Lumin Lash opens in Missouri City

Lumin Lash offers a variety of services including eyelash extensions, eyelash and eyebrow tinting, microblading and permanent makeup.

The community features a 12-acre farm with an orchard, a greenhouse, homes for goats and chickens, seasonal produce sold on-site each Saturday and a vineyard managed by Messina Hof. (Courtesy Harvest Green)
Texas Association of Builders dubs Harvest Green as Best Overall Community

In addition to being named Best Overall Community More than 600 Acres, Harvest Green was a finalist in the Best Community Amenity, Best Community Clubhouse and Best Website categories.

Missouri City City Council approved a zoning change that will allow for a new residential and commercial development at Hwy. 6 and the Fort Bend Parkway Toll Road. (Courtesy city of Missouri City/The Dinerstein Companies)
Missouri City City Council approves zoning change to allow for new single-family rental neighborhood

The residential area will be managed and leased like an apartment complex but consist of single-family homes. Find out more about the development coming to Missouri City.