City policy reels in community partnerships

Sugar Land City Council approved a policy July 15 that allows community-based organizations to participate in capital improvement projects. The policy states that up to $200,000 from the city's 4B Corporation budget can be awarded to organizations to help complete CIPs each year.

"It is a new policy to City Council, but the 4B Corporation has had a similar policy since 2008," said Stephanie Russell, business retention manager with the city's office of economic development. "What is new about the policy is that it increased the funding for the program and set a couple stipulations."

When the policy was first implemented, funding was capped at $100,000. Several projects in recent years—such as the new lighting at Eldridge Park—required a large amount of the available money.

"We have seen a spike in the use of the program in the past two years," Russell said. "As we have seen this increase, the 4B Corporation wanted to increase the impact on the community as well."

The updated policy stipulates that each application is able to receive 50 percent of the required money or up to $75,000—whichever is less—from the Sugar Land 4B Corporation. Any award more than $50,000 requires approval from City Council, and the 4B Corporation can recommend funding more than $75,000 for a single project.

The policy has a Jan. 1 deadline for submissions and is open to community-based organizations, such as homeowners associations, nonprofits and clubs.