Yes, the FY20 budget includes funding to complete the projects that remain from the 2013 GO bond that voters approved for park projects. Remaining projects include:
For an overview of the projects please visit: http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1771/2013-Park-Bonds
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January 2014 is the last time surface water rates were increased, with the opening of the surface water treatment plant to meet the initial 30% groundwater reduction mandate. The current water and wastewater rates have been in place since 2011. Rate increases are needed to provide funding for the City to make the capital investment necessary to meet the next surface water mandate, which is a 60% reduction in groundwater usage.
Completion of the remaining voter-approved park bond projects requires approximately one-cent increase to the 2019 property tax rate, which is offset by a 2 percent increase to the residential homestead exemption that was approved by City Council in June 2019. This means that the tax increase to support the remaining park bond projects is mainly offset by the adjustment to the homestead exemption. The exact amount depends on your home's taxable value and the actual tax rate- which will be adopted by City Council later this year.
City Council approved an increase to the residential homestead exemption from 10% to 12% for the 2019 tax year. While the old exemption amount was shown on appraisal notices mailed out earlier this year, the higher amount will be applied automatically and will be reflected on your 2019 tax bill. You do not have to do anything to receive the increased exemption, as long as you have a homestead exemption already on file with the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District.
The Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP) was recently adopted by City Council - the result of several years of work by the IWRP Task Force. The IWRP includes recommendations on how best to meet the long term water needs for our city, considering the cost, reliability and yield of new water supply options. For more information, please visit: http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1747/Integrated-Water-Resource-Plan
For the average home in Sugar Land, the proposed tax rate of 33.2 cents with the increased homestead exemption of 12% results in a tax bill that is about $24 higher than last year, an increase of 2.2%. The City's portion only makes up about 15% of your total tax bill.
Yes, you will still see the same detailed lines on your monthly bill, rates will increase for services billed after January 1, 2020. The rate increase is needed to support increased costs of providing water and capital investment necessary to meet the next mandated groundwater usage reduction of 60%. Your water bill will continue to show the following detail lines:
Rates for water and wastewater services are increasing 5% and surface water charges for mandated groundwater reduction are increasing 10%. For a residential customer using 12,000 gallons of water with a winter average of 5,280 gallons, the monthly bill will increase by $4.97 or 7% overall. For a customer who uses less water (3,000 gallons) the impact is less- $2.19 per month or 6%.
Over the last several years the City has been making progress toward reducing dependence on sales tax to fund the operating budget, and the FY20 General Fund operating budget is 41% supported by sales tax revenues- one of the lowest percentages seen in many years.
The resiliency initiatives that were formalized in the most recent adoption of the Financial Management Policy Statements (FMPS) were designed to further strengthen the financial position of the City by lessening the impact of economic swings associated with sales tax - a major revenue stream for the City, but one that is highly volatile and difficult to forecast. One key assumption is a conservative estimate of sales tax revenue based on current recurring collections, with no growth assumed in the budget. Using this methodology, actual sales tax should come in higher than budgeted, as the City regularly receives one time payments and audit adjustments which are not included in the budget. These revenues are then available for one-time use in the following year’s budget as they become part of the fund balance.