Drainage, thoroughfares, annexation services, policy: 4 things discussed during Sugar Land City Council’s Oct. 25 meeting

Sugar Land City Hall

Sugar Land City Hall

The Sugar Land City Council discussed the progress of various projects concerning the city’s drainage, thoroughfare, and mobility as well as services for the soon-to-be annexed communities of Greatwood and New Territory, during a workshop meeting Tuesday.

1) Drainage

The city of Sugar Land has completed over $6 million worth of drainage projects in 2017, and its five-year capital improvement plan identified $28.6 million earmarked for drainage improvements, staffers said. Most of these projects focus on areas that do not meet the city’s drainage master plan standards.

Other drainage projects include studying the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey on the city and its residents and working with levee improvement districts to identify measures the city can implement to prepare for future emergencies, according to meeting documents.

2) Thoroughfare projects

Staff also updated City Council on the progress of major thoroughfare projects.

Final designs to widen Hwy. 6 have been completed, and the Texas Department of Transportation will lead construction, which will begin late summer 2018, according to meeting documents. Another TxDOT project includes widening Hwy. 90A, for which construction is underway.

As part of the city’s comprehensive mobility plan, staff is looking to reduce freight traffic by relocating the freight rail as a future project, according to meeting documents.

3) Annexation services

As part of the 2017-2018 annual work plan, staff outlined a list of priority projects, including implementation of services to the soon-to-be annexed communities of Greatwood and New Territory.

Assistant city manager Jim Callaway said the city is committed to providing quality service levels to new residents and maintaining quality service levels to current residents without increasing costs.

The city will also undergo a redistricting process to make sure annexed residents are properly represented on City Council, Callaway said.

“When they’re annexed, they’re temporarily assigned to a district,” he said. “We assigned New Territory, temporarily, to District 2 and Greatwood, temporarily, to District 4.”

Staff will consult with an outside firm to draw up district lines based on demographics, and a citizen-led committee or taskforce will review the draft before recommending it to city council, Callaway said.

4.) Other projects

Other projects focus on reviewing the city charter, the financial management policy statement, and the city’s employee compensation policy to see if updates are necessary.

Jennifer Brown, Sugar Land’s director of finance, also recommended City Council authorize an in-depth study on city service fees, primarily those allocated to the general fund.

Staff would categorize and review fees based on the cost to provide the service and compare it with other cities in the market, Brown said.

“There are services where we need to be ensuring that we are competitive with other cities and our cost to provide service aren’t driving people elsewhere,” she said.

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.


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