FY20 Budget Approved by City Council
The FY20 annual budget and five year CIP were approved by the City Council on September 17. FY20 funding totals $272.57 million, including $40.52 million in capital projects and $232.04 million in operating funds. The five-year CIP totals $263.8 million, including $90.76 million in GO bond projects which have subsequently been approved by voters in the November 2019 election. These projects will be implemented in the FY21-23 time frame.
The City of Sugar Land has a long history of being recognized as a leader in financial stewardship, with strategies uniquely tailored to our community and designed to minimize the residential tax burden. We are proud of our success, which includes the second-lowest property tax rate in the state of Texas among similarly-sized cities and one of the lowest residential tax burdens on a per capita basis.
Adopted Budget and CIP
The Annual Budget and Program of Services can be found below along with the Five Year CIP document.
Strategies for the Future
As the city approaches its 60th anniversary, the strategies that led to success in the past must evolve to ensure Sugar Land continues to be successful in the future – recognizing that the city is aging and changing. Some of the factors driving the need to evolve include slowing development as the city approaches build-out, recent residential value growth outpacing commercial growth, increasing costs to provide services, aging infrastructure and the continued volatility of sales tax revenues.
As our city has matured, we have absorbed all of the constraints we can without increasing funding for or sacrificing our residents' priorities – such as maintaining roads and streets, improving mobility, and keeping Sugar Land safer than ever before. Simply put, priority needs are now exceeding the funding available within the current tax rate. Other challenges include the absorption of budget cuts and constraint in recent years that has left many increasing operational needs and priority capital projects unfunded, taking steps to secure the city’s long-term water supply and offsetting the impacts of unfunded mandates and recently passed legislation.
Our residents continue to tell us through feedback such as our most recent citizen satisfaction survey that investments in mobility, public safety and drainage are important to ensure the continuation of the Sugar Land Way, which is a commitment to bold and thoughtful thinking designed to make life sweeter and more refined for the people and businesses that call Sugar Land home.
The budget funds the projects that are most important to our residents - all with minimal annual growth in the average residential tax bill and a lean but championship workforce.
What's in the Adopted Budget?
The adopted budget includes the following priorities, all of which are designed to respond to current challenges, increase the city’s resiliency and ensure continuation of the Sugar Land Way by:
- increasing funding for infrastructure rehabilitation – such as streets, sidewalks, facilities, parks and drainage;
- continuing investment in technology to enhance traffic and mobility responsiveness, such as Integrated Traffic System management and an update to the Comprehensive Mobility Plan;
- supplementing traffic safety resources to replace traffic enforcement cameras;
- identifying alternate revenues, including targeted increases in emergency medical services fees, to offset revenues that were eliminated as a result of the 86th state legislature; and
- investing in a championship workforce, such as a public safety compensation study and a performance-based merit pool of 3%, recognizing the city is a personnel-driven public safety and service provider and does not give cost of living increases.
The FY20 CIP includes the completion of the remaining 2013 voter-approved parks bond projects with the adopted tax rate of 33.2 cents and an increase in the homestead exemption from 10% to 12% to offset the residential tax impact. Other projects include Settlers Park drainage improvements, major street rehabilitation and capital projects funded through utility revenues to implement the Integrated Water Resources Plan and prepare to meet additional mandated surface-water requirements.
The five-year CIP includes a general obligation bond program of $90.76 million in projects to address projects that are not affordable within the current tax rate, including drainage, mobility, and public safety. City Council called the election for November 5, 2019 for consideration by voters. All four propositions were approved by voters, with projects to be funded in future year CIP programs to begin in FY21-23.
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