The Woodlands Assistant General Manager Monique Sharp presented the budget information to the board of trustees, who said despite a 3% decrease in retail, an 18.9% decrease in accommodation and food services, and a 64.8% decrease in oil and gas sales tax revenue, The Woodlands remains "financially strong" due to a diverse tax base and avoiding large expenses such as pensions and overtime costs. Sharp said the decrease in oil and gas was expected because of the acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and its headquarters leaving The Woodlands area.
The proposed budget has been built on a property tax rate of $0.22, which is currently identical to the FY 2019-20 budget.
Among the major expenses being cut for FY 2020-21 are capital projects, which is expected to see a $5.7 million decrease compared to the FY 2019-20 budget. Visit The Woodlands is is also seeing a $613,000 decrease compared to FY 2019-20 as well, which adjusted its operating budget this year.
For the FY 2020-21 budget, Sharp said sales tax continues to be a primary revenue generator, which makes up $54.5 million of the $129 million total, with property tax revenue making up $45.9 million as well.
"We have a 2021 budget that has flat revenue growth; we did see a $6 million decrease in expenditures; we are maintaining our reserve balances; and we continue to have low debt balances," Sharp said. "In the end, what we have is a 2021 budget that reflects financial stability and budget flexibility to manage what are uncertain times as we go through the [coronavirus] pandemic."
At the time of the presentation, Sharp said she did not have access to certified property taxes from the appraisal district. Tax information is anticipated to be released over the weekend for budget workshops beginning Aug. 3.
No action was taken on the budget presentation, as it was a discussion item only.