Missouri City City Council will meet for a special meeting and regular meeting Aug. 3. The special meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. and is followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m.
Missouri City residents can request to address the council by submitting this online form and review the full agendas for both meetings. The livestream of the Aug. 3 City Council meeting will be available here.
Here are three topics the council will discuss or take action on during the meetings.
Two agenda items address street names throughout the city
Council members will consider and take action on two agenda items related to naming and renaming streets throughout Missouri City.
Streets in Missouri City as whole, and the Vicksburg subdivision in particular, have come under scrutiny for having names that refer to Confederate generals or include “plantation,” according to city officials. For example, Bedford Forrest Court and Bedford Forrest Drive share the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
The first item council will consider would give final approval to an amendment to city code that reduces the percentage of signatures required to rename a city street.
The proposed changes would require 70% of people who own property on a given street to sign a petition in order to apply to change to the name of that street. Currently, consent from 90% of homeowners is required.
Council Member Jeffrey Boney, whose district includes the Vicksburg area, proposed this change to city code.
“We have to keep in mind the climate in which we are in,” Boney said during the July 20 City Council meeting, when council first considered the change. “Lowering the threshold from 90% to a more modest 70% is something I feel like would help the citizens decide if this is something they would like to undertake. ... We want to give the people more of a voice to be able to express themselves, so I feel like lowering the threshold to 70% will be able to do that.”
Council will also receive public comment on and consider giving initial approval to an ordinance that would change how new streets in the city are named.
Under the proposed changes to city code, new street names could only contain a proper name if that person or entity “has contributed to the community or humanity” and could not contain a word or phase deemed “overused.” The proposal does not address new subdivision names, as these are considered private property.
City documents show that the intent of prohibiting overused words would limit including “plantation” in future street names as it is currently a part of at least 21 street names within Missouri City or the extraterritorial jurisdiction.
“It’s kind of shameful that our city is riddled with Confederate names, KKK names as well as plantations,” Mayor Yolanda Ford said at the July 20 City Council meeting.
Missouri City’s Planning and Zoning Commission, which plays a key role in reviewing new developments, discussed the proposal at its July 8 meeting but gave it a negative recommendation because more clarification was needed on the naming process, according to city documents.
Approval of federally funded allocation for coronavirus response efforts
During the regular meeting, City Council will consider authorizing the use of federal funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for a series of projects and programs in Missouri City.
Missouri City was allocated $3.7 million of CARES Act funding to pay for coronavirus-related expenses through the end of the year. Of this money, the council will take action to authorize the use of $2.2 million.
The funding will support a $500,000 small-business grant program and a $500,000 for rental assistance program. These community outreach efforts would each provide $2,500 to up to 200 businesses or families.
Other expenses to be funded from the CARES Act include coronavirus testing for city staff, sanitizing city buildings and other enhancements to promote social distancing, and personal protective equipment distribution efforts, among others.
Council discussed these expenditures during its July 20 meeting.
Presentation of the city budget
Assistant City Manager Bill Atkinson and Director of Financial Service Allena Portis will present the proposed 2020-21 fiscal year budget during the special meeting. Then, during the regular meeting, Portis will lay out the certified tax rolls, which show the estimated taxable property value in Missouri City.