Sugar Land City Council unanimously approved a fiscal year 2019-20 budget of $272.6 million during a Sept. 17 regular City Council meeting. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and ends Sept. 30, 2020.
Council also approved a tax rate of $0.332 per $100 valuation, a 3.99% increase from last year’s $0.31762 tax rate.
The effect to the average residential tax bill will be about a $24 increase per year, Finance Director Jennifer Brown said.
“We have had a lot of good discussion with City Council and made a lot of good decisions,” Brown said during the meeting. “We were able to increase our funding for [infrastructure]rehabilitation, add back some services that you felt needed to address service levels to impact residents, and we’re going to be funding the remaining [general obligation]bond projects from the 2013 bond election.”
The 2013 bond projects relating to parks will be funded by the tax rate increase, which was also approved during the Sept. 17 meeting.
“We had made a commitment in 2013 on the park bonds,” Mayor Joe Zimmerman said. “We knowingly did not increase the tax rate last year to cover those park bonds because we knew that there were other entities that, due to Hurricane Harvey and other events, needed to increase their tax rate. However, that being said, we felt very strongly about returning to our governing guidelines, which we call ‘The Sugar Land Way.’”
Along with the budget, council also adopted its five-year capital improvement program of $263 million. This adoption is required by the city charter, but only funds for the first year—a total of $40.52 million—are factored into the city budget, Brown said.
The CIP includes the $90.76 million in bond propositions to be voted on in the Nov. 5 election. However, these funds are not included in the actual budget because those will be handled in next year’s budget cycle after the election, she said.