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CenterPoint Energy says that their focus is on delivering safe and reliable electric service. To do this, they maintain and enhance existing infrastructure as well as build new infrastructure and facilities to accommodate a growing service territory. With the Sugar Land area continuing to grow, this project is intended to increase capacity at the Imperial Substation located near Lowe’s Home Improvement on US-69. The project aims to improve reliability and prepare the electric system to meet load growth.
Please contact CenterPoint Energy Transmission Projects at 713-207-6307 for questions or concerns.
The following map displays the limits of the project and new pole locations:
CenterPoint has confirmed that work related to pulling wire and transmission work around neighborhoods is complete as of mid-January, 2019. Some work still remains in the First Colony Mall area which is expected to be completed in January 2019. CenterPoint is working with TxDOT on approvals for some lane closures so that crews can install a conductor that will be crossing US-69. Construction crews are working on cleanup and restoration along the corridor near residential areas through the month of January.
If you would like to know more about timing and scheduling of CenterPoint construction in your area, contact CenterPoint Energy Transmission Projects at 713-207-6307.
CenterPoint contacts businesses directly and provides notifications by door hangers as well as registered letters to homeowners.
The company does not expect any major outages related to this work. However, when the company switches the circuits from the original cables to the new cables, there will be some minor planned outages; customers will be notified in advance. Notifications have been sent to residents who will be affected by construction crews who will need access to build the line. For more information, contact CenterPoint Energy Transmission Projects at 713-207-6307.
Sugar Land is working with CenterPoint to ensure that any mud or debris associated with this work is removed each day per the City’s Stormwater Quality Management and Discharge Control Program. CenterPoint has ensured the City that damages to streets and/or trails will be returned to previous conditions when their work is complete.
Generally, the City does not have regulatory authority over projects within CenterPoint’s right-of-way. However, pursuant to the City’s Stormwater Quality Management and Discharge Control Program, the City regulates discharges into the City’s storm water drainage system. Additionally, any damages to City-owned property (i.e. pedestrian trails) or private property (i.e. backyard fences) should be restored to pre-construction conditions.
All volunteers must be 14 years of age or older. All volunteers under the age of 18 must also submit a signed parent/guardian permission form in addition to their on line application. More information is available on the volunteer sign up website
No. All volunteers must apply online in advance, once approved they may sign up for volunteer opportunities. You must be registered in advance to volunteer for a specific event; you may not just show up at that event/training. We ask for a specific number of volunteers to ensure a positive experience for all.
The City recognizes the historical significance of the discovery and the importance of honoring and preserving these individuals with the utmost dignity, and memorializing the area’s history for future generations.
The cemetery is located in Fort Bend County near Highway 6 and US 90-A.
In 1867, Texas began leasing out its convicts to labor for private companies, and former plantations across the state were transformed into prison farms. The vast majority of the men and women who toiled on them were African-Americans, either the children of slaves or former slaves themselves, who came from states like Arkansas and Louisiana as well as from across Texas. The graves in the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery are those of the African-Americans who worked in the convict leasing program and the guards. The cemetery has at least 31 graves, with the earliest dated from 1912. Three graves are post-dated the 1930s. The Imperial State Prison Farm was a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) men's prison. It was one of the first penal institutions owned by the State of Texas and opened in 1909 on the Imperial Sugar plantation. In 1930 the facility was renamed the Central State Prison Farm.
FBISD will determine if and how DNA testing will be performed prior to interment in the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery. Under the terms of the MOU with FBISD, the City does not assume responsibility for the individuals until they have been reburied in the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery. Any DNA testing would need to be conducted prior to reinternment. The City does not support, nor do we feel it would be appropriate, to exhume the individuals for DNA testing after reinterment.
While the convict leasing program was reprehensible, The City of Sugar Land was not incorporated until December 1959, long after the program ended. No inmate labor has ever been used in building the City’s infrastructure, including any of our city halls. Convict labor leasing had been over for several decades when the City of Sugar Land was incorporated and was gradually phased out of the area during the 1910s, when Isaac Kempner and William Eldridge established Sugar Land as a company-owned town.
Contractors working for FBISD discovered the individuals during construction of a new school on the site.
95 unmarked graves were discovered on the site.
The individuals are of African-American males ranging in age from 14 to over 70. The convict leasing system started in 1857 and operated until the early 1900s.
Yes, construction at the site has ceased.
Numerous entities are involved including the Texas Historical Commission, Fort Bend County, FBISD and the City of Sugar Land.
It is our understanding the FBISD plans to initiate educational initiatives regarding the historic discovery. The City will work with all entities to participate, as appropriate, in efforts to honor those interred in the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery.
In 1867, Texas began leasing out its convicts to labor for private companies, and former plantations across the state were transformed into prison farms. The vast majority of the men and women who toiled on them were African-Americans, either the children of slaves or former slaves themselves, who came from states like Arkansas and Louisiana as well as from across Texas. The graves in the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery are those of the African-Americans who worked in the convict leasing program and the guards on the Ellis Plantation’s sugar mill and surrounding sugar cane fields.
The cemetery was dedicated to the City by LID 17 in October 2006. Sugar Land City Council approved Resolution No. 12-02 on Feb. 7, 2012. The resolution authorized the purchase of 63.331 acres of land for park purposes and the purchase of 11.426 acres of land for airport purposes from NNP-TELFAIR, LP per the 2003 Development Agreement.
The City of Sugar Land negotiated with Newland Real Estate Group, developer of the Telfair residential community in Fort Bend County, to accept responsibility for the ownership of the cemetery, ensuring this historical property does not disappear through neglect like many others throughout the country. The Imperial Farm Cemetery was declared a Historic Texas Cemetery in 2007 in an application that was made in collaboration with the Fort Bend Historical Commission and approved by the Texas Historical Commission. The City has protected and maintained the prison cemetery property since taking ownership.
The city zoned the cemetery and surrounding property as parkland, a designation that protects and preserves the property. The city went further and purchased all of the land around the cemetery. We planned enhancements that were intended to make the cemetery more accessible and highlight its historical importance.
The city routinely provides cemetery access to the Texas Slave Descendants Society to host events there.
An archeological survey of the property was previously completed by Newland Communities as required by federal law.
The Fort Bend County Historical Commission is charged with carrying out a continuing survey of the county’s historical buildings, sites, cemeteries, archeological sites, both public and private, and other historical features within the county, and reports to the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court and the Texas Historical Commission. Any new development that could have an impact on a historic site such as this must be vetted through the Fort Bend Historical Commission. The Texas Historical Commission performed ground-penetration studies of the property in May 2016.
The city will comply with all required laws prior to any future parkland development surrounding the cemetery.
The city’s plans for a community park in Telfair were halted by the failed passage of an $18.5 million bond proposition. Even though the regional park was defeated in the bond election by residents of Sugar Land, that property is still designated for future parkland in our Parks, Recreation Master Plan.
The city is committed to honoring the history of the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery and the surrounding prison operation:
The City of Sugar Land created the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and contributes funding to ensure the preservation of the city’s history. The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation has been collecting local historical documents for a museum opened in 2018 at the Imperial Refinery site. This museum will eventually include a diversity of exhibits documenting the experiences and contributions of African-Americans and all others. Community groups are encouraged to support the development of the museum.
The stated mission of the Convict Leasing and Labor Project is to document the abuses of forced labor in the United States past and present. That includes slavery, convict leasing, and current forced labor arrangements in US prisons. The published goal of CLLP is to “abolish the last vestiges of involuntary servitude in the nation to bring the US into compliance with Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The stated vision of the CLLP is to provide a public forum on the impact of slavery, convict leasing, and current forced labor arrangements inside US prisons. According to their literature the group envisions:
The Texas Slave Descendant’s Society was founded as a Texas General Business in 2006 by Reginald Moore. Much of the Society’s activity has been to document the abuses of Texas’ prison labor system. The Society has worked with the Woodson Research Center at Rice University to research the convict labor system in Fort Bend County. The organization hosts an annual Labor Day event at the Old Imperial Farm Cemetery and the City routinely hosts TSDS at events at the cemetery.
Representatives from the National Black United Front met with FBISD Superintendent Dr. Charles Dupre to discuss a list of 15 concerns they have regarding the individuals found on FBISD property. Foremost among their concerns is a request that DNA testing be conducted before the individuals are reinterred. Other concerns involve:
After extensive discussion and consideration, the task force formally recommended two options. The task force’s first option was to re-bury the remains at the original site where they were found. The task force believes this option is the most respectful to the remains because a burial site is considered sacred ground. However, the task force understands that there may be certain legal restrictions that will not allow reburial on school district property and would in that case recommend reburial at the city of Sugar Land’s cemetery.
Sugar Land City Council approved an interlocal agreement with Fort Bend ISD that allows the school district to re-inter remains at the city’s cemetery if they so choose. City Council’s decision was consistent with the task force’s recommendation, which included two options.
No. The interlocal agreement allows Fort Bend ISD to consider the city’s cemetery as an option for reburial.
As the property owner where the human remains were found, Fort Bend ISD has the responsibility of evaluating suitable burial locations to re-inter the bodies to present to the court for final approval.
Learn more about the Cultural Arts Program.
Learn more about the Cultural Arts Program.
The Hotel and Convention (Conference) Center will be built on a portion of City-owned property located adjacent to the Smart Financial Centre (SFC) and plaza.
In 2007, the City of Sugar Land’s citizen-led Visioning Task Force identified a Hotel and Convention (Conference) Center as one of the five specific destination venues for the City to pursue. Overall, these efforts are part of a larger, successful strategy that has been in place for more than a decade to grow and solidify Sugar Land’s reputation as an economic powerhouse and destination location – as well as increase the City’s financial resilience through the development of unique destination venues. With the completion of a minor league baseball stadium (completed 2012), an indoor live entertainment venue (completed 2017), a festival site (completed 2017), the next step is to begin the selection of a private-sector development partner for the Hotel and Convention (Conference) Center project.
The design of the project will be determined in partnership with the selected partner. Overall, the Hotel and Convention (Conference) Center is envisioned as a 350-room upper upscale or luxury full-service hotel with an adjoining convention/conference center of up to 50,000 sq. foot and supported by structured parking.
Similar to Constellation Field and Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land, any City financial support of this project will be limited to capital investment from project-generated revenues and funds restricted by state law for tourism and economic development purposes – further offsetting the demand on property taxes for residents through the resulting economic growth. No general property tax dollars will go to support the development or operation of the project. Additionally, and unique to this project, the City was also successful in 2017 in qualifying for a state rebate program that will allow for project-generated state hotel and sales taxes to be rebated for a period of time in support of the project.
No. Not only will general property tax dollars NOT be used to support this project, the resulting economic growth will benefit residents as it further offsets the demand on residential property taxes by expand Sugar Land’s economy, adding jobs and tourism revenue that ensures Sugar Land is able to fund the high level of services expected of its residents while maintaining one of the state’s lowest tax rates.
No. While the City is excited to take the next step in fulfilling the citizen-led Visioning Task Force, we remain committed to continuing to do absolutely everything we can to support the private sector development team in the preservation and revitalization of the Imperial refinery site. Additionally, with a diverse set of funding mechanisms restricted for economic development, we are also able to simultaneously continue pursuing the redevelopment of the Central Prison into a world-class light industrial business park.
Yes. Consistent with the established practice of protecting the City’s business and financial interests, the City envisions the selection of a private development partner who will bring financial resources and construction expertise to build and operate a 350-room nationally branded hotel and a convention (conference) center with up to 50,000 square feet as recommended by a previously completed feasibility study. Additionally, the project must be commercially feasible, as the City will not provide any ongoing operational support.
Designed as an upper upscale or luxury destination amenity venue with a nationally recognized brand, the Hotel and Convention (Conference) Center is intended to attract large conferences that generate overnight guests who shop and dine in Sugar Land. Not only will this project bring new dollars into the community, it is also anticipated that many of Sugar Land and even Fort Bend County based businesses will now have additional space at which to host many of their large-scale meetings and conferences – recognizing this project is larger than any existing hotel/conference centers in Sugar Land. Additionally, since close to 75% of Smart Financial Centre attendees come from outside of Fort Bend County, we envision many people will further their Sugar Land entertainment experience by staying in the adjacent hotel as well.
Development on the City’s property and within Telfair Tract 5 will have no impact to Ditch H or Telfair. The Tract 5 property is within Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District (LID) 17. This LID has provided all of the required detention for existing and future development within its boundaries. The project location actually does not drain into Ditch H. This location drains through LID facilities to the Brazos River south west of the UH campus through a control structure that is operated by the LID. Additionally, there are specific site drainage requirements and standards for development within the City of Sugar Land. All development (commercial, single-family residential, office, etc.) must be built in accordance with City engineering standards and will follow national and local standards. As per City regulations, all development within the City of Sugar Land must have no drainage impact on other areas when designed for the 1% probability flood event.
From Sugar Land Town Square to the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land to Constellation Field to the Smart Financial Centre, the City has worked with reputable developers to design and provide amenities that not only attract new businesses and a generate new dollars in the community, but that also benefit the residents of Sugar Land. These partnerships have proven to be extremely successful, attracting approximately 1,000,000 combined attendees per year and generating significant economic benefit to the community. In particular, the adjacent Smart Financial Centre has annually attracted more than 350,000 paid attendees during its first two years of operation, earning continued global recognition as one of the world’s top ten theatre venues and providing a projected annual benefit to the community of $26.1 million over 30 years.
Whether venues or major commercial developments, the City has had an intentional strategy of growing and solidifying the City’s economy and position within region as economic powerhouse through the development of major destinations. This decades-plus strategy has been guided by several principles, including: (a) selectively choosing the highest quality partners with a demonstrated track record of success; (b) protecting the City’s business and financial interest by limiting risk – e.g. assignment of ongoing operational responsibilities to the private-sector, limiting the City’s contributions to capital investment and requiring private-sector equity contributions; and (c) leveraging the use of restricted or project-generated revenues to offset the demand for residential property taxes through the resulting economic growth.
The Hotel and Convention (Conference) Center project will continue to build upon Sugar Land’s reputation as an economic powerhouse and destination location. A project of this scale will protect and grow Sugar Land’s market share within the Houston region.
To ensure fairness and full access to the same information for all firms that are interested in developing and eventually operating the venue, all communication is being routed thought he City’s Purchasing Office as part of their professional standard responsibilities.
Accurate and reliable information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
No. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. The recently emerged 2019-nCoV is not the same as the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). However, genetic analyses suggest this virus emerged from a virus related to SARS. There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available. Learn about 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
See information from Texas Health and Human Services
Yes. Review this online resource for vaccination options. The city does not receive vaccine shipments directly.
See information from Texas Health and Human Services.
For accurate and reliable information, please be sure to visit the following resources. They are the authoritative sources of information.
Dr. Anzaldua: While there is no “zero risk” for either spreading or contracting SARS–COV–2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 illness), traveling during the pandemic is still possible but you must take safety precautions to reduce the risk of viral transmission. If you have symptoms, please avoid traveling at all costs. If you recently tested positive for the virus or have been exposed to someone with confirmed COVID-19, travel should be avoided or delayed.
Dr. Anzaldua: This information is easily found on the CDC.gov website. You should also check to see if your final destination, domestic or a broad, has any travel advisory restrictions with respect to testing or self-quarantine requirements. This generally applies to all forms of travel including train, bus, ship, etc. Self-quarantine (usually a 14-day period) may be voluntary or mandatory.
Dr. Anzaldua: Please follow the current public health measures currently recommended by the CDC, such as wearing a mask properly fitted, covering both mouth and nose when in public settings such as airports, train or bus stations, etc. Practice recommended hand sanitation using soap and water or hand sanitizers that contain least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching frequently touched services.
Dr. Anzaldua: Currently studies indicate that viral infections do not spread easily during air travel due to current technology used for air circulation and filtration. If at all possible, however, social distancing with physical separation of 6 feet or greater is still recommended.
Dr. Anzaldua: Bring a mask to wear in public settings, especially in large crowds. In fact, I would recommend packing extra masks just in case. I would also pack travel size hand sanitizer bottles. Make sure both are close at hand.
Dr. Anzaldua: Although there are no current vaccinations or recommended outpatient treatments for COVID–19, if traveling abroad please check to see if any other vaccinations are recommended or even required prior to travel.
Dr. Anzaldua: If you made airline reservations a while ago, you may want to check with your airline carrier to make sure that your flight reservations are still confirmed as some airlines may have changed or even canceled some previously scheduled flights.
Dr. Anzaldua: If you are prone to or at risk for high altitude illness, try taking a day or two of rest prior to climbing to a higher altitude. Avoid strenuous physical activity, coffee and alcohol. Drink plenty of water any chance you get. If you have had high altitude illness in the past, consider taking prescription medication for prevention or treatment, such as Diamox. Consult with your healthcare provider.
Dr. Anzaldua: There are some studies that suggest that a disruption in our circadian rhythm (such as sleep deprivation and jet lag) can have a negative impact on our immune system. Such negative influence on our immunity system can make us vulnerable to certain illnesses, especially infections.
Dr. Anzaldua: Yes. Physical and emotional stress can have a negative impact on our immune system, the system in charge of fighting off certain illnesses and infections.
Dr. Anzaldua: While it is believed that temperature changes can impact our immune system and metabolic processes in our bodies, the mechanisms of how this happens is not well understood.
Dr. Anzaldua: Other than sleep deprivation and jet lag, a person’s general health is also a factor, especially those medical conditions that are associated with weakened immune systems. In addition, individuals not properly hydrated while flying are at risk of weakening the immune system. It is best to always stay well hydrated (even prior to air travel) and avoid caffeine and alcohol while flying. Remember that these beverages tend to dehydrate, not hydrate!
Dr. Anzaldua: Commercial jets are not always properly sanitized in between flights. Some of the areas at high risk for harboring infections include toilet areas, tray tables, armrests, and seat pockets. Believe it or not, tray tables (that may “look” clean) may actually harbor more germs than the restroom area! The best way to avoid contamination is to minimize hand contact with these areas just mentioned and to carry a bottle of hand sanitizer or a package of baby wipes to keep hands as germ-free as possible.
Dr. Anzaldua: Many hotels abroad realize that their traveling guests may get sick. For this reason, check with your hotel front desk to see if they can arrange for a physician to attend to you. In addition, you may wish to contact your own personal physician, but keep in mind that their assistance may be somewhat limited, but still may provide good medical advice such as recommending certain medications that may be available at a local pharmacy.
The city’s design standards set requirements for bike lanes built within the city’s right of way. These standards meet those set by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
TxDOT’s standards are based on the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Roadway Design Manual and guidelines. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is a standards setting body which publishes specifications, test protocols and guidelines which are used in highway design and construction throughout the United States.
The city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan contains recommended minimum requirements for pedestrian and bicycle facilities (bike lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks, etc…). Recommendations as outlined on the master plan adhere to applicable TMUTCD, ADA and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) standards.
Below is a table comparing Sugar Land to TxDOT's bicycle facilities standards.
At this time, there is no immediate concern with the Brazos River. However, the amount and rate of erosion will vary any given year as it depends on several factors. A few of these include:
Lack of planning and action could result in the potential of seeing property values impacted, increases in flood insurance rates, and the inclusion of some areas in the floodplain zone. One of the goals of the study is to develop plans to address the issue and reduce future risk to nearby areas.
Areas protected from the Brazos River by levees are not classified as being in the floodplain. As long as the river level is below the top of the levee or the levee is not breached, these areas would not experience flooding from the Brazos River. The ongoing erosion problem could change this.
The amount and rate of erosion will vary any given year as it depends on several factors. A few of these include:
Lack of planning and action could result in damage to the levee or a negative impact on the level of protection the levees provide. If this happens, there is the potential of seeing property values impacted, increases in flood insurance rates, and the inclusion of some areas in the floodplain zone. One of the goals of the study is to develop plans to address the issue and reduce future risk to nearby areas.
The City is using a the Observation Method for Meandering Prediction (OMM) developed by Dr. Jean-Louis Briuad at Texas A&M University. The methodology includes the following:
The stakeholders of the study are:
The city is partnering with:
The National Weather Service has completed a historical rainfall study, called Atlas 14. This study incorporated approximately 100 years of rainfall data in Texas, which shows that Fort Bend County and the City of Sugar Land are likely to experience an increase in the frequency of intense rainfall events.
The existing rainfall frequency values were developed in the 1960s and 1970s. Atlas 14 incorporated an additional 4 decades of rainfall data collected by the increased number of rain gages in Texas. In addition, Atlas 14 used improved statistical methods to conduct rainfall frequency analysis. These rainfall frequency values are used for infrastructure design and planning activities under federal, state and local regulations. The values are also used to evaluate flood risks, manage development in floodplains, and delineate floodplain boundaries for FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.
Areas of new development and re-development located next to Oyster Creek in the floodplain area could see an increment in the minimum required finish floor elevations. Redevelopment of properties located in levee-protected areas may need to build at a higher elevation if the original finish floor elevation did not comply with the minimum elevation requirements of the Levee District engineer.
As per the Fort Bend Drainage Criteria Manual (22.214.171.124 –Design Criteria Assuming Coincidental Events), the maximum ponding level within the leveed area should not exceed the maximum water surface elevation associated with the 100-yr coincidental flood event computed in designing the internal drainage system of the levee area, including the required minimum freeboard of one foot and the pumping and storage capacity of the leveed system.
The coincidental ponding is determined from the coincidental probability of interior and exterior flooding and the capacity of pumps, drainage channels, and detention using the precipitation requirements of Atlas 14.
No. The Development Code and the city's design standards require that any new or existing construction collects the stormwater on the property properly and delivers it to the proper city collection point, (i.e. stormwater inlet, stormwater channel or detention pond) without affecting any neighboring properties. This is clearly specified in the flood prevention ordinances adopted by City Council.
We are proposing to change the city code. Currently, many of our floodplain regulations are based on the 100-year flood. We are proposing an interim Atlas 14 100-year floodplain regulations until floodplain maps can be redrawn by FEMA in a few years. This interim floodplain is based on the current 500-year floodplain. This change means that property owners and businesses in the interim Atlas 14 100-year floodplain would have new restrictions if they want to develop, expand, remodel or improve their properties.
Sugar Land areas that will be affected by Atlas 14 implementation can be reviewed using the following maps:
The majority of the city will not be impacted by higher insurance rates, however, homeowners that are not in the current 100-year flood zone may be remapped to the flood hazard zone when FEMA updates floodplain maps in a few years. If remapped, affected homeowners might be required to purchase flood insurance.
Atlas 14 shows that the frequency of major storms that can take place in our city is expected to increase. This could mean more street ponding in our area. We do not anticipate homes flooding in our area as a result of Atlas 14 estimates, however, it is recommended that all homeowners and residents purchase flood insurance.
The project includes
Construction is expected to last 14 months with tentative completion in summer 2020. The project schedule may change due to weather conditions, the contractor’s production rate, and other factors.
The Mobility Master Plan is the City of Sugar Land’s first consolidated mobility plan – a plan that shifts the focus from moving vehicles to moving people. This renewed focus will aim to provide residents, workers, and tourists with multiple transportation options to choose from within Sugar Land. It will incorporate all elements of mobility – vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, transit and freight rail – based on community values to define Superior Mobility for Sugar Land.
The Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan focuses on planning for projects and programs that are specific for pedestrians and bicycles, while the Master Thoroughfare Plan focuses on the City’s roadway network and moving vehicles. The Mobility Master Plan will focus on planning for all modes of transportation, including, but not limited to vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and freight rail.
The mobility master plan will involve a variety of stakeholders, the most important of which is the residents of Sugar Land. The Mobility Task Force, made up of 22 residents of Sugar Land and its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction, will guide the Mobility Master Plan development and ensure all voices from the community are heard and represented in the Plan. Members represent diverse mobility interests, including drivers, cyclists, walkers, transit users, seniors, parents of school children, people with disabilities, major employers, and local businesses. In addition to the Task Force, the general public, representatives from local businesses, city officials, professional advisors from regional governmental agencies, city of Sugar Land staff and the project consultant will be involved in the Plan development.
Development of the City’s first integrated Mobility Master Plan is a significant undertaking which is expected to take two to three years to complete. Implementation of the Plan will begin after City Council adoption. In addition, upon completion of the Mobility Master Plan, staff will initiate development of multiple area plans (i.e. neighborhood, corridor plans). These area plans will recommend specific Capital Improvement Projects to ultimately implement the overall Mobility Master Plan.
Property tax increases are not being considered at this point because the plan will take two to three years to complete. Any construction and subsequent funding considerations as a result of this plan will not occur until after that time. However, the Sugar Land Mobility Survey does include a question regarding potential funding sources.
Pre-Qualification Presentations are offered bi-monthly.
Each presentation is allocated 45 minutes. Thirty minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes for questions and answers (Q/A).
Presentations should provide an overview of all disciplines (ie: water, wastewater, traffic, roads, drainage, etc.) the company offers or can focus on one specific area of expertise the company wants to make the city aware of.
The “Pre-Qualifications Presentation” schedule link is on the City of Sugar Land website with detailed instructions on the process.
No, Pre-Qualification Presentations are not required to do business with the City of Sugar Land. However, they are highly recommended because the process allows staff to become familiar with new companies, relevant changes within an existing company structure as well as new disciplines companies have to offer. Providing a presentation also allows the companies Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) to go into the City’s 2-year library for selection process for projects under $250,000 budget.
SOQs can be submitted before or immediately following the Pre-Qualification Presentations. An electronic version ONLY is provided to the Engineering Administrative Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each Request for Qualifications (RFQ) is based on particular projects (drainage, streets, traffic, etc.) With the SOQ (for pre-qualification submittals only) use the following criteria:
Please submit SOQs in PDF format with a maximum of 15 pages, including: introduction letter, structure of organization, disciplines of expertise and examples of projects. *Please note the City cannot accept SOQs on flash drives due to our IT security policy.
SOQs stay active in the City’s Engineering library for 2 years.
If the company desires to keep their SOQ in the library an additional 2 years, they can submit an updated SOQ to email@example.com. No additional presentation is necessary unless the following takes place: 1). The company has restructured the organization, 2) The company has added additional services they want to introduce to the City.
The company representative should contact the Engineering Department Administrative Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or instructions.
Staff members from all divisions of city staff are invited to the meetings (Airport, Public Works, Parks, Engineering, Planning, etc.).
Presentations will now be conducted through an online virtual meeting process. The platform will be Zoom. Additional information is provided through the scheduling process on the City’s website, prequalification’s link.
If you are considering pet adoption, please stop by the animal shelter during regular business hours or visit Petfinder to see our animals. You can also find more information on our adoption page
At this time the City of Sugar Land does not have a license or registration program. State law does require that all dogs and cats over 4 months of age be current on their rabies vaccination. The city does require the rabies tag be displayed on your pet’s collar.
At this time, the City’s animal shelter does not offer any veterinary services to the public. Sugar Land is home to many wonderful veterinarians and practices. We suggest searching the internet, or asking a neighbor for a recommendation. If you are in need of low cost alternatives, you can contact one of the following.
Some No Kill facilities pre-screen what they will take into their shelter. Less desirable animals are not admitted or transferred to other facilities. Sugar Land's animal shelter is tasked with taking in all animals in our jurisdiction including strays, abandoned and injured animals, those with health issues from neglect, transmittable diseases, behavior issues, and aggression.
A No Kill shelter is a great concept, but in reality even a No Kill shelter can euthanize 5-10% of its intake and still be considered No Kill. Maddie's Fund, an organization dedicated to increased community lifesaving, shelter medicine education, and pet adoptions across the U.S., defines a No-Kill shelter as “an animal shelter that does not kill healthy or treatable animals even when the shelter is full, reserving euthanasia for unhealthy and untreatable animals.” Maddie’s Fund also has detailed definitions for healthy, treatable, rehabilitatable and manageable animals.
The City’s Animal Shelter does not promote itself as a "no kill" animal shelter but does actively utilize multiple "no kill" strategies to ensure adoptable animals find a forever home. Even though the animal shelter has exceeded its capacity since 2015, the animal shelter does not euthanize for space. In addition, the City utilizes the following "no kill" strategies to ensure animals are adopted:
The City does not have a Trap Neuter and Release Program (TNR) and it is currently prohibited by City Ordinance. The Animal Advisory Board reviewed TNR during the February 12 board meeting. In a TNR program, community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, treated for fleas (only in cases of extreme infestation), eartipped (the universal sign that a community cat has been neutered and vaccinated), and then returned to the area where it was originally trapped. TNR claims various benefits which are detailed below with local facts.
Based on the above information and lengthy discussion among the board members, the board decided not to implement a TNR program at this time, but all agreed education and outreach is needed to reduce the feral cat population.
Yes, we do provide traps. Our traps are live humane traps used for cats running at large and nuisance wildlife. Traps are available for 10 business days on a first come, first serve basis. Traps may be set from Sunday evening through 3 p.m. Friday and must be shut down for the weekends and holidays. Traps will be delivered to your doorstep with instructions on the rules, what to bait it with, and how to set it. If you choose to use your own trap you are subject to the same rules. To prevent injury to yourself, others and the animals please call Animal Services to relocate or impound Animals caught in traps. Some animals are illegal to transport per the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, including the transportation of raccoons which is a class C misdemeanor.
Though you may think the animal is a nuisance, it is a living creature and failure to provide shade, removal of trap in inclement weather, not contacting Animal Services in a reasonable time, or death to an animal in a trap can be construed as cruelty which is a felony offense.
Trapping should be a last resort for wildlife! Nature loves a vacuum. Removing the animal will just provide the opportunity for another to take its place. To solve the problem, the food source, shelter and water need to be removed or you will just get a replacement.
Suspected code violations can be reported in any of the following ways:
Once a suspected code violation has been submitted, code enforcement staff is assigned and an investigation takes place. Due to the different nature of submissions, investigation and resolution times may vary. For example, zoning violations typically require monitoring and collecting of information on the property and usually will take longer to reach a resolution.
Once it is determined that a violation has occurred, city staff will issue a notice of violation to the property owner outlining the necessary corrective action as well as a compliance timeframe. Re-inspections are then conducted to verify compliance.
Code violation information is available to anyone through an open records request as part of the Freedom of Information Act.
The City does maintain close working relationships with HOAs and other community groups and regularly discusses high-level issues occurring within the subdivision.
Rental length defines what would be considered a short-term rental. Any property that is leased or rented out in whole or in part (a room, for example) longer than 30 days is not considered a short-term rental and would be allowed.
There is a misconception that Sugar Land prohibits short-term rentals because the City would not be able to collect occupancy tax from these rentals. In fact, any owner that is operating a lodging business – including a short term rental – anywhere in the state of Texas is required to collect state hotel occupancy taxes that must be submitted to the State Comptroller.
Additionally, if STRs were allowed in Sugar Land (they are not), they would also be subject to the city’s hotel occupancy tax.
Please contact Republic Services at 713-726-7307 or notify the city at 3-1-1 or 281-275-2900.
Effective January 1, 2021 the City’s Household Hazardous Waste program will no longer be provided as a service.
Residents are encouraged to utilize the Fort Bend County Recycling Center, which is a regional drop-off center for household hazardous waste and electronics recycling for Fort Bend County residents. Their website provides information regarding accepted materials and applicable fees. Please note that the Fort Bend County Recycling Center does not schedule curbside collection of material.
Please remember to not place these materials in your garbage or recycling carts, as they should be properly disposed of. It is also important to note that household hazardous waste material and electronics placed at the curb with bulky waste will not be collected.
Yes. Residents have the option of a 35, 65, or 95 gallon cart for garbage and recycling. To request a different size, please contact Republic Services Customer Service at 713-726-7307. A cart exchange fee will apply.
Carts should be stored in compliance with your HOA deed restrictions. Ideally, the carts should be stored in your garage or behind fencing or brush. The city ordinance does not require the container be stored out of sight, but does require the cart not block or interfere with a sidewalk.
Carts should be placed at the base of the curb (where curbs exist) with the cart wheels against the curb. The cart must be at the curb with the handle facing away from the street and the lid opening to the street. Carts must be placed at least 3 feet from obstacles such as utility poles, mailboxes, trees, fire hydrants, and parked cars.
The collection arm on the automated truck requires space so that it will not tip over other containers or damage property. Please keep the containers away from obstacles that may interfere with the collection.
Are you recycling? Recycling materials will give you more room in your garbage cart. Additional garbage carts are available for an additional monthly fee and can be requested by contacting 3-1-1 or 281-275-2900. There is no additional monthly fee for extra recycling carts.
A separate collection will be provided for certain large items defined as bulky waste. These items include stoves, refrigerators (Freon removed), furniture, and other large household items that cannot be broken down. Bulky waste does not include construction refuse, demolition refuse, or hazardous or electronic wastes. Bulky waste service days are different from garbage and recycling service days.
Please visit MyNeighborhood to determine when the next bulky waste collection day is for your area.
Upon annexation in December 2017, Greatwood residents began paying the same fees for solid waste collection services as the rest of the City.
The most recent rate adjustment on January 1, 2021, was based on a 1.95 percent CPI increase included in the city’s contract with Republic Services. This adjustment increased the 2021 solid waste rate from $19.38 to $19.76 per month; a 38 cent increase.
More information about this planned fee increase can be found in this news release of Dec. 30, 2020
The frequency of bulk waste collection for Greatwood residents was modified to align with the service level provided to the rest of the City. All remaining solid waste collection services were maintained, along with the addition of the green waste recycling program and on-call bulk cardboard program, which were previously not available for Greatwood residents.
In the near future, additional water supplies will be pumped through Oyster Creek from the Brazos River to serve as the primary potable water source for the City of Sugar Land. Drinking water is treated to remove harmful contaminants and make it safe for human consumption. Higher concentrations of contaminants in our stormwater require more treatment to make the water safe for us to drink.
Recycling is the process of converting waste into reusable material. Although recycling benefits the community and the environment, the most effective way to reduce waste is to reduce consumption and look for ways to reuse items.
Collected materials are taken to a material recovery facility (MRF) for processing. At the MRF, the material is delivered to the processing floor and loaded onto conveyor belts for sorting. The sorting process combines mechanical equipment and manual labor to remove contamination from the stream of materials. Many items like food waste, trash, and plastic bags must be manually removed from the conveyor belt in order to prevent equipment damage and further contamination of the recyclables. Once the material is sorted, a compactor bales the items into large blocks to be sold for the production of new material.
Materials that end up in the recycling stream that cannot be recycled must be manually removed during the sorting process. Material recovery facility (MRF) employees must handpick trash, food waste, and other contaminants from the conveyor belt before it reaches the mechanical sorting equipment. This increases both the cost and time to process material received at the MRF.
Wishful recycling is the term used to describe placing unsuitable items in the recycle cart in hopes that it will be recycled. These items often contaminate the recycling stream and cause suitable material to be landfilled. One example is placing a greasy pizza box in the recycle cart. Although the box is made of cardboard, the grease it contains can contaminate surrounding items that would have otherwise been recycled.
Plastic bags should not be placed in the recycle cart because they can get caught in processing equipment and slow down material sorting at the recycling facility. An environmentally friendly alternative to using plastic bags is to utilize reusable tote bags when shopping. If you do have to use plastic bags, many local grocery stores offer in-store collection containers where bags can be deposited for proper recycling.
China National Sword is legislation enacted by the Chinese government imposing strict regulations on the import of recycled goods, including the ban of various types of plastics and paper. As the world’s largest importer of recyclables, China National Sword legislation has led to a rapid decrease in commodity values for recycled material.
Emptying, rinsing and drying items before placing them in the recycle cart helps prevent contamination of surrounding materials.
The triangle symbol found on plastics is part of the resin identification code (RIC) used to identify what type of plastic the product is made from. It is important to note that the presence of the RIC symbol on an item does not necessarily indicate that it is recyclable. Recycling programs utilize the RIC symbol to educate the public on which forms of plastic are accepted. The City of Sugar Land’s recycling program currently accepts #1-5 and 7 plastics.
Republic Services has resumed their normal collection schedule. Residents should place their items at the curb by 7 a.m. on their collection day, but no earlier than 6 p.m. the evening before. Should your items not be collected according to schedule, please leave them at the curb. Collection crews will be returning to any incomplete areas within the following 24 to 48 hours to render service.
Missed collections can be reported to 3-1-1 or 281-275-2900.
Due to Winter Storm Uri and the amount of damage to our region’s landscaping, the amount of green waste to be collected has been roughly 4 times greater than a typical Spring season. This impact to landscaping, along with the amount of leaves dropping, has created a much greater demand on resources within the city, region and the state for clean-up and collection.
Yes, major metro areas across the state are reporting large amounts of vegetation loss due to the freeze that is now having to be collected and disposed of.
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
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:
Prior to January 2020 and January 2021, the City has not increased water or wastewater rates since 2011, and surface water rates have not increased since 2014. These rates are the main source of funding for the utility system. If the operating and capital needs of the system exceed the capacity generated by revenues (payments), then rates have to be increased to maintain a financially sound, self-supporting utility system.
The rate increases are necessary to support the City in meeting the 60% groundwater reduction mandate as recommended by the Integrated Water Resources Plan.
Each year, a long-range financial forecast for the utility system is prepared using an updated model from the last rate study. This update provides guidance on revenues necessary to support the operating and capital needs of the system moving forward. The model builds in the capital projects identified through the Integrated Water Resources Plan and Capital Improvement Program.
The utility system is operated like a business and supported through charges to users of the system. Revenues are generated by the rates set by City Council.
When rate increases are necessary, they are recommended through the annual budget, discussed with City Council during budget workshops, and then adopted by City Ordinance.
The City has a Utility Assistance Program that is distributed through Fort Bend Social Services. To learn more about possible assistance, email email@example.com or you can call 281-403-8050 or 281-238-3502.
Please visit our water-saving tips page to help control the cost of your water bill.
In a 2018 survey conducted by the Texas Municipal League (TML), Sugar Land’s residential water and wastewater bills ranked 15% to 20% less than the average bill for 45 cities over 50,000 in population (including costs for mandatory groundwater reduction).
Beginning in 2014, the City had to meet FBSD regulations requiring the City to supply 30-percent of its water demand from alternative (non-groundwater) sources. In 2025, this water supply requirement will increase to 60-percent alternative sources.
The Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP) is a comprehensive water supply plan, approved by City Council in 2019. The IWRP examined the City’s available water supplies and infrastructure and developed a clear, strategic, and cost-effective road map that allows the City to meet future water demands and regulations. The recommendations include partial expansion of the City’s Surface Water Treatment Plant, expanding reclaimed water facilities, water conservation programs, implementing advanced metering infrastructure and controlling water loss.
Learn more about the IWRP.
The City has not increased water or wastewater rates since 2011, and surface water rates have not increased since 2014. The Integrated Water Resources Plan identifies substantial capital investment ahead of the mandated 60% reduction in groundwater. Continued capital and operating investment into the system is necessary to ensure the safest and most reliable utility system for our customers.
The utility rate study will help the City design a rate structure to achieve the revenues needed based on industry best practices, and only recommend the rate increases that are necessary to maintain a self-supporting utility system. While necessary, future increases will be structured to ensure the financial sustainability of the system around smaller annual increases instead of larger less frequent increases.
City Council approved utility rate increases in September of 2020 to be effective January 1, 2021. Residents can expect to see the rate changes on bills issued after that date.
The Integrated Water Resources Plan identifies substantial capital investment ahead of the mandated 60% reduction in groundwater. Continued capital and operating investment into the system is necessary to ensure the safest and most reliable utility system for our customers.
Phases II and III of the utility rate study will be conducted in FY21, and are focused on building policy direction for implementation of the IWRP based on City Council discussion during the FY21 budget process. This will help the City design a rate structure to achieve the revenues needed based on industry best practices, and only recommend the rate increases that are necessary to maintain a self-supporting utility system. While necessary, future increases will be structured to ensure the financial sustainability of the system around smaller annual increases instead of larger less frequent increases.
The City is being required to convert 60% of its total water demand to alternative or non-groundwater supplies by 2025. This conversion is an unfunded mandate by the Fort Bend Subsidence District (FBSD) Regulatory Plan. The City is committed to meeting the mandate in a way that best fits our communities’ vision for the future.
The costs of these projects will be phased over the next several years. In order to fund these projects and meet the regulatory requirements, the City will be increasing rates incrementally over the next few years. Please visit the IWRP page.
The proposed budget includes $226.9 million for operations – a more than 2 percent decline from the prior year – and $27.5 million for capital projects, including a first, but limited, phase of projects approved by voters in 2019.
Overall, the city is facing and has identified strategies to offset a revenue shortfall of approximately $3 million across all major funds as a result of COVID-19 in FY20 – including a significant impact in the city’s main operating fund that is projected to further continue into FY21.
Recognizing the economic impacts of COVID-19 on residents and businesses, the City immediately began taking budgetary actions at the start of the global health emergency to respond to anticipated declines in various city revenues – most notably sales tax revenue, which is a major funding source for the city’s operating budget. Actions and strategies, which are in accordance with the strong financial management practices that have earned Sugar Land recognition as a financial leader across the nation and by bond rating agencies, include:
A tax rate of 33.65 cents is needed to fund the budget. This is less than a half cent increase from the current rate of 33.2 cents. The approximate half cent is a portion of 3 cents approved by voters in 2019 to fund projects to address drainage, public safety, mobility and an animal shelter. Drainage projects have been identified for the approximate half cent in fiscal year 2021.
For the average home in Sugar Land, the proposed less-than half cent tax rate increase with the homestead exemption of 12 percent results in a tax bill that is about $27 higher than last year. The city’s portion only makes up about 15% of your total tax bill. The approximate half cent increase is less of a financial impact than a normal year of valuation increases.
The 3 cents tax increase was originally planned to be issued in FY21 with projects expected to be completed within three to four years. Due to economic conditions related to COVID 19, the schedule has been expanded to five years with approximately half of a cent of the voter-approved 3 cents targeted for drainage projects in fiscal year 2021, with an emphasis on those addressing structural flooding. The remainder of the projects and the three cent tax rate increase will be implemented in future years.
You do not have to do anything to receive the exemption, as long as you have a homestead exemption already on file with the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District.
Drainage project represent 95 percent of the proposed fiscal year 21 capital improvement program. Projects include:
The Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP) previously adopted by City Council was 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
An approximate $10 monthly increase to utility bills for customers is included in the proposed budget as the city prepares to implement the IWRP and meet the unfunded mandate to reduce groundwater consumption by 60 percent in 2025.
The last scheduled increase was in 2020. Prior to that, the city had not increased water or wastewater rates since 2011, and surface water rates have not increased since 2014. These rates are the main source of funding for the utility system. If the operating and capital needs of the system exceed the capacity generated by revenues (payments), then rates have to be increased to maintain a financially sound, self-supporting utility system. The rate increases are necessary to support the City in meeting the 60% groundwater reduction mandate as recommended by the Integrated Water Resources Plan. Read more at http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1879/2020-Utility-Rate-Changes.
Over the last several years the City has been making progress toward reducing dependence on sales tax to fund the operating budget. 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.
This action was taken before the proposed budget was filed with City Council. Recognizing the economic impacts of COVID-19 on residents and businesses, the City immediately began taking budgetary actions at the start of the global health emergency and intentionally delayed major decisions on the preparation of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget to better align with the availability of data. Such actions and strategies included moving forward with City Council consideration of a resolution directing staff to calculate the voter-approval tax rate with an 8 percent limit – consistent with past practice – in response to the disaster declaration made by the Governor in March. Ultimately, the proposed tax rate of $0.3365 was not only below the voter-approval tax rate as calculated at 8%, but is also below what the calculation would have been at 3.5%.
There will be a series of public workshops held by City Council prior to approving the budget in September. This will include opportunities for public input. Sugar Land has the second lowest tax rate in Texas for cities our size. City Council is considering less than a half cent of the 3 cents approved by voters. The approximate half cent will be used to fund voter-approved drainage projects, with an emphasis on those addressing structural flooding.
Sugar Land’s tax rate is the second lowest in the state for cities with a population over 60,000 and one of the lowest residential tax burdens per capita in a comparison with peer cities. Sugar Land’s tax rate represents a very small percentage of the total tax burden. Less than a half cent of the 3 cents approved by voters is necessary to fund voter-approved drainage projects.
Sugar Land City Council unanimously voted to call a bond election to provide voters an opportunity to decide whether to fund projects identified by residents to address drainage, public safety, mobility and an animal shelter.
The projects were expected to be completed within three to four years. Due to economic conditions related to COVID 19, the scheduled has been expanded to five years with less than a half cent of the voter-approved 3 cents targeted for drainage projects in fiscal year 2021.
The city issues bonds to finance projects that will benefit the city for decades, allowing the cost to be spread across the useful life of the project. It would take many years to accumulate enough funding to pay for these projects as we go- during that time the projects don’t get built. History has shown that construction inflation far outpaces interest costs and are not fixed as the interest will be on bonds. The city’s AAA-rated GO bonds carry the lowest possible interest rates which allow the projects to be financed economically over an appropriate period- usually about 20 years.
Voters approved 3 cents to fund the $90 million in projects that were identified by residents to address drainage, public safety/facilities, mobility and an animal shelter. 3 cents represents an extra $10 per month for the average Sugar Land homeowner. The projects will be funded in future capital programs to begin with drainage projects in fiscal year 2021, with an emphasis on those addressing structural flooding.
The bonds represent an investment of approximately 3 cents on the tax rate or about $10 per month for the average Sugar Land homeowner to fund items such as drainage improvements, a public safety training facility, a public safety dispatch and emergency operations facility, new animal shelter and roadway improvement projects. Less than a half cent of the voter-approved increase has been identified in fiscal year 2021 to begin drainage projects.
Including all debt backed by property taxes, the City has $288 million in outstanding principal and interest on bonds issued by the City and assumed by the City through annexation and dissolution of Municipal Utility Districts over time. This figure does not include debt supported by Sugar Land Regional Airport, the water utility system or economic development sales taxes.
Property taxes are the only repayment source for General Obligation bonds. The City currently has tax-backed bonds that were inherited from Municipal Utility Districts upon annexation- the water/wastewater component of those bonds are supported by utility revenues. Other bonds (Certificates of Obligation) are backed by property taxes but are supported with repayment from restricted revenue sources such as hotel occupancy taxes, lease revenues and public improvement district assessments.
There are several layers of checks and balances to ensure proper monitoring and handling of the bond program. These checks and balances begin at a staff level as part of the reporting delivered to City Council. Additionally, before any project begins, each must be presented to and approved by the City Council, which usually occurs through the annual Capital Improvement Program Budget Process. In addition, the City Council (at public meetings) must vote to issue the debt and approve design and construction contracts associated with each project. The City also goes through extensive auditing process by outside auditing agencies.
The city of Sugar Land works closely with flood-control partners -- including Levee Improvement Districts and Fort Bend County -- tasked with protecting residents from river flooding. Routine maintenance and targeted drainage projects are important to protect Sugar Land during extreme weather events. The city’s regional approach to flood-control projects recognizes that each agency has an important role to play in keeping residents safe. Joint studies and agreements combined with ongoing communications ensure a coordinated effort. Projects included in the bond referendum build on efforts being implemented by area LIDs that are investing in increased pumping capacity and levee improvements. Project timing will be well coordinated with the LIDs’ projects to ensure the drainage system functions as an integrated system. Sugar Land takes the same approach with Fort Bend County on projects impacting city residents.
The security of your account and information is a priority for the City of Sugar Land. To maximize the security of your account and minimize the possibility of a data breach, you will be required to re-register once the new payment system is launched. This means that you will need to create a profile, username, and set a new password. Your customer account number will remain the same. In addition, if your account is set up on auto pay with a credit card, you will have to reenter the credit card information.
Once the new payment system is launched:
No. The city will continue to absorb the associated fee for the credit card that the customer uses.
Yes. Once the new payment system is launched, you will be required to re-register. This means that you will need to create a profile, username, and set a new password. Your customer account number will remain the same. In addition, if your account is set up on auto pay with a credit card, you will have to reenter the credit card information.
Yes. This transition was originally scheduled to take place in late 2020 - as it is part of the city’s current implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. In late 2019, the city was made aware by the city’s third-party online payment processing provider, that the current system had been compromised. Among the courses of action taken by the city to remedy this situation, is the accelerated implementation and transition to Paymentus.
The city recognizes the concerns that the announcement of a payment system breach can cause. As such, the city took swift action to ensure the continued safety of the city’s payment system. This transition is one of them. A new payment system vendor called Paymentus was brought on board and the transition is ongoing.
Paymentus has a Level 1 compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Level 1 is achieved by organizations processing more than 6 million transactions per year and passing PCI DSS requirements that ensure compliance not only for a certain period in time, but continuously as the organization keeps track and monitors critical changes in their process.
More information about what happened, including actions taken by the city to ensure the continued safety of the city’s payment system can be found at https://www.sugarlandtx.gov/FAQ.aspx?TID=110
The security of your account and information is a priority for the City of Sugar Land. Due to the transition to a new online payment system in September, the City un-enrolled customers from automatic credit card payments in August 2020. To maximize the security of your account and minimize the possibility of a data breach, you will be required to re-register your account once the new payment system is launched.
The City has a list of utility accounts that were previously set up for auto-pay. We will not charge late fees or disconnect service on these accounts in September.
Once the new system is activated:
If you choose to wait for the October payment to process be aware that the entire amount will be due which may be greater than normal due to the September payment not processing.
A winter average is established in January and February of each year. Water usage is averaged between the February and March billing periods. That number is used as your average household water usage for wastewater volume charges from the April bill until the following March bill, regardless of the amount of water used. Residential customers have a set charge for wastewater each month. That way, if you use water for your yard, to fill a pool, if you have a leak, or for whatever reason during the year, you’ll have to pay for the water, but won’t pay extra for the wastewater.
For residential customers, wastewater volume charges for April through the following March are based on the lesser of (1) average monthly water usage as billed in the most recent February and March months; -or- (2) Twelve thousand gallons.
For new residential customers that have not yet established a water usage history (February/March), wastewater volume charges for April through the following March are based on the citywide average monthly usage, currently 6,480 gallons.
Since its establishment, the council-manager form has become the most popular form of government in the United States in communities with populations of 5,000 or greater. The form also is popular in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and West Germany. For more than 80 years, council-manager government has responded to the changing needs of citizens and their communities.
Annette Williamson Wise was a Sugar Land artist known for leading the effort to paint murals on the sides of Main Street bridge in Sugar Land. The murals were originally painted on the bridge for Sugar Land’s celebrations of the Texas sesquicentennial in 1986, and helped document and preserve the city's history. Wise maintained the murals throughout her life. In addition to the murals, Wise was actively involved in the community through a number of philanthropic efforts and service projects.
Annette Williamson Wise passed away in 2011. In April 2018, city council voted to officially name the bridge after her. Now known as the Annette Williamson Wise Bridge, the memorial initiative was launched by area residents who organized a petition drive that resulted in more than 200 signatures.
A copy of Resolution 18-14, which officially named the bridge after Wise, is available online.
The Vision of the city of Sugar Land Animal Services Division is to foster and support a community where all animals are treated humanely and with compassion, and in which there is a forever home for every adoptable animal. When the city’s current animal shelter was originally built in 2008, it was designed to provide approximately 150 adoptions per year. As you can see from the table below, the Sugar Land Animal Shelter has worked diligently to achieve this vision and has well exceeded the originally planned number of adoptions each year.
The Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 828, requires all public or private animal control agencies, shelters or humane organizations to have their animals sterilized. However, this law does not apply to rescues, breeders or individuals. Irresponsible pet ownership is a contributing factor as to why we continue to see intakes at our shelter. We also receive numerous owned animals that are lost and injured and need shelter and protection until their owners can be contacted, and they can be returned. In addition, our Animal Services Officers respond to animal cruelty cases that often require animals to be removed from properties around Sugar Land. The shelter also holds animals under domestic violence restraining orders; for citizens who pass away in their homes; and when there are arrests and vehicle accidents where animals are involved.
The city’s current animal shelter was built in 2008 with funds from surplus sales tax. As the City’s first indoor shelter, it was designed house a total of 24 dogs and 35 cats to provide approximately 150 adoptions per year. A 2015 Facilities Master Plan Update determined that the design capacity of the existing facility had been exceeded, and there was not sufficient space to accommodate expected growth. The city hired consultants to work with the Animal Advisory Board (AAB) to confirm the size, scope, site layout and approximate budget for the new animal shelter. In addition, the citizen-led AAB has focused on the review of Animal Services programs and operations and the identification of facility needs they believe that are necessary to provide these services.
The 2015 Facilities Master Plan identified the existing animal shelter has exceeded its design capacity. A new shelter will accommodate the projected animal capacity due to the City’s growth. The new shelter not only provides expanded space to house animals and adoption services, but it incorporates functions to expand the city’s role in managing urban wildlife. Development of land is pushing our wild neighbors closer to our neighborhoods. Wildlife is finding the means to adapt and thrive closer and closer to cities. Animal Services plays a role in increasing people’s understanding and education of our wild neighbors and promoting a safe coexistence of both our citizens and urban wildlife.
The City’s current animal shelter was built in 2008 with funds from surplus sales tax. As the City’s first indoor shelter, it was designed to meet the needs of a growing city by housing a total of 24 dogs and 35 cats and to provide approximately 150 adoptions per year. A 2015 Facilities Master Plan Update determined that the capacity of the existing facility had been exceeded, and there was not sufficient space to accommodate expected growth. For example, Sugar Land Animal Services completed a total of 829 adoptions in Fiscal Year 2018. A 2016 expansion study developed facility expansion options and recommended interim improvements for the existing shelter. The proposed program addresses the work recently completed by the expanded animal advisory board for ultimate growth.
With the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory on December 2017, an interim expansion of the current animal shelter was completed through the addition of an existing building which was renovated and relocated to the shelter, increasing the floor space by 56 percent (increasing interim capacity to 62 dogs and 112 cats). While this improvement provided a temporary expansion, the construction of a new Animal Shelter will address projected growth beyond 2030 with a capacity of 70 dogs and 132 cats at any given time.
As a result of more than 10 years of planning and funds set aside by residents of the annexed areas specifically for the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory, the city completed one of the largest and most successful annexations in state history. The City evaluated this annexation on a stand-alone basis; and concluded that the cost to the City of providing services to the annexed areas was supported by revenues generated from the annexed areas, and there was no reduction in services to residents already living within Sugar Land’s corporate city limits.
In early 2017, the City partnered with the architectural firms of PGAL and Animal Arts to confirm the size, scope, site layout and approximate budget for the new animal shelter. In order to ensure the project encompasses community objectives, the City’s Animal Advisory Board was expanded from 5 to 11 members. The Animal Advisory Board has focused on the review of Animal Services programs and operations, animal shelter expansion space planning and the development of funding options. Read more at http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1800/History.
$6.6 million was identified for the construction of an approximately 17,000 square-foot facility which will allow the City to continue to provide our current level of service but with the appropriate spaces. Through the work of the Animal Advisory Board, additional services were identified for inclusion within the facility; as such, a separate capital campaign will be undertaken to fund these additional services. The facility includes animal housing, intake/veterinary space, staffing area, public spaces and space for animal outdoor fitness. This effort will be guided by the Sugar Land Legacy Foundation, a group that works on behalf of the city of Sugar Land to promote community investment in large-scale quality of life projects. Read more at http://www.sugarlandlegacy.org/.
Drainage problems have different tiers. The top priority for the city is to fix home flooding problems and the proposed drainage improvement projects will reduce the home flooding potential. We have also included drainage improvement projects that will reduce street ponding on major streets and in several neighborhoods.
The city continues to pursue Federal and state funds to supplement drainage projects. In order to construct the improvements as soon as possible, the City is seeking approval of bond authority which will allow the City to drive the schedule on these projects and not be dependent on other agencies to provide funding.
These projects will comply with ongoing Atlas 14 efforts. Sugar Land has adopted the Atlas 14 rainfall frequency estimates for Texas. This resulted in modifications to the city’s Development Code and Design Standards, and the city-adopted guidelines that provide guidance for the review of requests to alter or develop new property within the city. Changes resulting from the Atlas 14 adoption will apply to new development and redevelopment areas within the city and its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). The city is in the process of updating city-wide ponding maps using the new Atlas 14 rainfall information. The updated maps will show areas where potential street ponding might occur due to an increase in the frequency of intense rain events.
Read more at www.sugarlandtx.gov/Atlas14.
Drainage projects were identified by the criticality in nature per Drainage Master Plan criteria, from structural flooding to major thoroughfare ponding and to neighborhood street ponding as well as project readiness. City staff continues to coordinate emergency efforts during major storm events to improve pass-ability of roadways. The City has also purchased high-water vehicles that can provide rescues during major storm events. This effort is continually coordinated with the County, Levee Districts, Fire, Police, Public Works and Engineering. As we continue to go to the voters for approval of projects, other identified drainage improvements in various areas will be addressed in the next bond election.
The LID 2 new pump station is projected to be in service in early 2021. The engineering design of the Acacia trunk line project would start in October 2020 if the GO Bond Drainage Proposition is approved by the voters and the construction would start in the Fall of 2021.
General obligation bonds are debt instruments issued by states and city governments to finance large capital improvements. Bonds are sold to investors and the proceeds from the sales of these bonds are used to pay for major capital investments that have a public purpose—such as the flood protection, mobility and public safety projects contained in the Sugar Land Bond Program. Bond elections provide voters the opportunity to have a say in which projects they are most willing to support through the approval of bond propositions to authorize funding for each type of project on the ballot.
Many of the projects build on past and future efforts.
Because of low voter turnout, local elections are typically decided by a small number of people. Voting on this bond election gives you the opportunity to have a say in the future of the city.
Sugar Land City Council unanimously voted to call a Nov. 5 bond election during its Aug. 14 meeting to provide voters an opportunity to decide whether to fund projects identified by residents to address drainage, public safety, mobility and an animal shelter.
Based on citizen satisfaction surveys, extensive planning through various master plans and City Council input, drainage, public safety, and traffic and mobility are the top three priorities for our residents. Projects identified for the GO Bond were based on these driving factors. Drainage projects were identified by previous drainage studies, from structural flooding to major thoroughfare ponding to neighborhood street ponding; as well as project readiness. Public safety and public facilities were identified based on Facility Master Plan recommendations. Streets and mobility projects were selected based on pavement assessments and traffic studies. The majority of the projects have been presented to City Council in the past through studies, preliminary engineering and/or design phases. These projects have been reviewed by City Council to move forward in the G.O. Bond election in November.
Each request is received by the City Engineer through the firstname.lastname@example.org. Projects requested are weighed by importance and priority needs. If a project is not placed on the project list, it will be reviewed again the following budget process.
All quoted costs are based on engineer estimates with pricing from current market indices. By state law, and city ordinance, all work will be publicly bid. The projects identified have had previous work performed, including drainage studies and designs, pavement assessments and facilities studies.
The bonds will be issued over three years with projects expected to be completed within three to four years.
Approving the bonds authorizes the city to incur debt to build the projects. The requested bond amount is based on the projects’ current estimated costs. If those costs change as a project moves forward, then the amount allocated to that project may not be enough to build it. The city may postpone construction of that particular project or seek additional money from the City Council. Staff will provide financial reporting to City Council to keep the public informed of anticipated project costs versus project budgets.
The City issues bonds to finance projects that will benefit the City for decades, allowing the cost to be spread across the useful life of the project. It would take many years to accumulate enough funding to pay for these projects as we go- during that time the projects don’t get built.
History has shown that construction inflation far outpaces interest costs and are not fixed as the interest will be on bonds. The City’s AAA-rated GO bonds carry the lowest possible interest rates which allow the projects to be financed economically over an appropriate period- usually about 20 years.
The parks bond projects were estimated to be completed within five to seven years. City Council recently committed to include the final parks bond projects in the 2020 proposed budget. In addition, City Council made the decision to increase the homestead exemption to 12 percent to offset the residential impact of the resulting 1 cent tax rate increase.
There will be 4 propositions on the November 2019 ballot.
The interest rate is set by the bond market at the time the bonds are issued. Since the City carries the highest possible rating for GO bonds, the interest rate is among the lowest available for municipal bonds. Sugar Land issues bonds based on a 20-year maturity schedule, with at least half of the principal paying off in the first 10 years. This aggressive repayment schedule also minimizes the interest cost that must be repaid.
The current credit rating or bond rating of the City is AAA- the highest rating available. Issuing additional bonds does not affect the bond rating as long as there is a sound financial plan to support the bonds, for example- recognizing that they cannot be funded within the existing tax rate and that the tax rate must be increased to fund the bonds.
Over the last few years there has been continuous pressure on appraisal districts to reduce growth in appraised values. The three-cent tax increase assumes no growth in taxable values and is the maximum anticipated impact to support the projects based on current taxable value in the City.
Sales taxes are not pledged toward repayment of GO bonds; that statement is incorrect and was never made by the City.
Yes. School districts often freeze taxes for people over 65 because they no longer access educational services; however, the city of Sugar Land continues to provide services to people of all ages.
The City does not set the value of your home. The Fort Bend County Appraisal District is the entity that sets your property’s valuation amount based on market values. The City is not counting on any increases to taxable values to implement the bond program- with that, passage of all four bond propositions will increase the City portion of your tax bill by 3 cents or about $10 per month for the average Sugar Land home, to fund items such as drainage improvements, a public safety training facility, a public safety dispatch and emergency operations facility, new animal shelter and roadway improvement projects.
Should voters approve all propositions, City Council will raise the city's tax rate 3 cents for fiscal year 2021. The $90 million in projects was identified by residents to address drainage, public safety/facilities, mobility and an animal shelter. The one-time tax rate increase of 3 cents represents an extra $10 per month for the average Sugar Land homeowner. With voter approval, the projects will be funded in future capital programs to begin in fiscal years 2021 to 2023.
The bonds represent a FY21 investment of approximately 3 cents on the tax rate or about $10 per month for the average Sugar Land homeowner, to fund items such as drainage improvements, a public safety training facility, a public safety dispatch and emergency operations facility, new animal shelter and roadway improvement projects.
The tax rate is set each year by City Council and no City Council can bind future City Councils as to that rate as a matter of state law. By that same law, future City Councils could roll back the rate at any time or raise it at any time. If City Council votes to lower it while money is still owed on the debt, they would need to make cuts elsewhere in services to pay for it.
If the city’s voters reject the bond program, bonds will not be issued for the projects included in the program, and the projects may remain unfunded. The tax rate will not be raised if the bonds are not approved by voters to build the projects.
If a bond proposition does not pass, it means that the funding associated with that proposition is not approved.
Cities across the nation compete to attract new businesses that add jobs and new revenue streams to local communities. Incentives are important tools to achieve economic development goals. The City does not lose money through such value-added tax abatements, as the development would not have occurred without the tax abatement. The projects result in significant property tax value and revenue to the City after the abatement expires (maximum 10 year terms). In addition, economic growth generated by these agreements fully benefits the local school districts, as they do not participate in abatements.
All financial projections for budgeting and financial forecasting purposes are conducted in-house by the City’s Finance and Budget Office staff.
Property taxes are the main source of funds used to repay bonds issued through a General Obligation bond. General Obligation bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing jurisdiction, in this case the City of Sugar Land. This means the City is obligated to pay back the bonds plus interest by pledging revenue from ad valorem taxes. The City levies a property tax annually with a portion of the tax rate dedicated to the interest & sinking fund to repay general obligation bonds in the form of annual principal and interest payments.
Property taxes are the only repayment source for General Obligation bonds. The City currently has tax-backed bonds that were inherited from Municipal Utility Districts upon annexation- the water/wastewater component of those bonds are supported by utility revenues. Other bonds (Certificates of Obligation) are backed by property taxes but are supported with repayment from restricted revenue sources such as hotel occupancy taxes, lease revenues and public improvement district assessments.
In the last 11 trading days, the DOW has been up more than 300 points three times, and down approximately 2,500 points the other eight days. This wild volatility in stocks is affecting bond yields which have been jumping up and down (mostly down) for much of the last month. The financial forecast for the City is based on an average interest cost for the City to issue bonds and is not tied to the stock market performance. This is actually a very good time for the City to issue bonds as when bond yields are down that means that it costs less as they carry a lower interest rate.
The city’s issuance of bonds don’t affect interest rates as they are driven by the supply and demand of the national municipal bond market. Bond yields are falling, which means that it is less costly for the city to borrow money through the issuance of bonds. Issuing bonds help cities to ensure intergenerational equity by spreading payments for assets and infrastructure over their useful lives. Intergenerational equity relates to equity between present and future generations and considers distribution of resources or burdens between generations. This helps to ensure that residents today are not responsible for paying for the full cost of a project that will continue to benefit residents for decades in the future.
The city carries a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings, which is the highest rating available. The ratings demonstrate confidence of the rating agencies in the city’s ability to manage its finances. This allows the city to ensure our tax dollars go farther by borrowing funds at the lowest possible interest rates. Each time the city prepares a new debt issue, rating agencies evaluate the city’s credit rating to assign a bond rating to the proposed bond issue as well as all outstanding bonds of the city. The bonds that are proposed will also carry this rating, which means that the bonds will carry the lowest interest costs available based on municipal bond market conditions at the time they are issued.
If one or more of the bond propositions fails, the city is prohibited from issuing certificates of obligation to fund any of the failed projects for three years. Because the bond election requires a tax increase to fund, if one or more propositions fails, the actual tax increase will be re-evaluated and adjusted to support the approved propositions, which will also utilize current debt capacity. This decision will be made by City Council during the fiscal year 2021 budget process.
No. Texas law requires that the proceeds of bonds authorized at the November 2019 special bond election be used only for projects described in the ballot questions.
No. Any funding approved in the November 2019 special election can only be used to complete projects which are set forth in the official Election Information Pamphlet and on the city’s website. The complete bond project list is also included in these FAQs.
Bonds are one source of funding for city capital projects. Projects that lack funding are not included in the Capital Improvement Program.
In 2013 the residents approved five Parks Bond projects; 2 of them have been completed including Brazos River Park Phase I and Crown Festival Site, and Imperial Connector Trail. The remaining three projects are Mid-Lake, First Colony Trail, and Ditch H Trail. Some design and permitting has begun on these projects; construction has not started.
None. There are no outstanding bonds in the proposed bond election. Once bonds are issued, they do not need voter approval.
Bonds to be considered in the election will be utilized only to construct the projects identified. When the City refinances outstanding bonds (similar to refinancing a mortgage), it is accomplished through the issuance of refunding bonds, which do not require approval by voters. Refunding bonds are issued to achieve savings to the City over the remaining life of the bonds. The City has minimum savings thresholds that must be met before it will consider issuing refunding bonds.
GO bonds were last on the ballot in November 2013 with propositions relating to Parks projects. Prior to that, the last City GO bond election was January 1999.
Traffic impact studies and analysis have confirmed that this project addresses the current and future needs of the University Boulevard corridor, including the future development of Tract 5. The total project cost is approximately $3.4M with Fort Bend County contributing approximately 50% of the total construction cost approved in the 2017 Fort Bend County Mobility Bond Project.
The project includes the extension of the existing Soldiers Field Rd. to SH6, which is approximately 1,100 ft. and a roundabout at the intersection of Soldiers Field and First Colony. The project also includes associated drainage improvements for the roadways and necessary water and wastewater line extensions. The detailed cost breakdown will be available once the design is completed. All project estimates are generated using the City’s cost database which is developed by past construction projects in the City and the region.
Studies on the identified area have not identified or justified further improvements but it can be evaluated for inclusion in future bond elections.
Since 2007, the dispatch center staff has nearly doubled in size from 19 employees in 2007, to 35 in 2019 (not including the addition of 21 Police officers after the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory housed in the same building). The expanded dispatch center is consistent with a recent assessment by industry experts who recommended the expansion to address the expanded city population.
The most recent department assessment recommends hiring an additional eight dispatchers to meet the public safety demands of our growing city. The proposed dispatch center is designed to accommodate the additional needed employee space as well as to expand the city’s emergency operations center (EOC). The EOC is used to manage city operations during significant emergency events such as hurricane Harvey and our most recent flooding event in May of 2019.
The public safety training facility is intended for police and firefighters who provide the public safety services to the residents of the city. Having training facilities within the City limits allows Fire-EMS responders to train on duty while maintaining their ability to respond to emergency calls eliminating the need to go out of the City to train.
No. City ordinance requires any development and construction to result in no adverse impact to surrounding or nearby properties. The drainage impact of the proposed new municipal facilities (Animal Shelter and EOC/Dispatch Building) has been taken into account with the existing drainage system. The proposed new Public Safety Training Facility will include required drainage improvements to avoid any negative impact to surrounding areas.
Public facilities rehabilitation refers to repairs and renovations to the City’s buildings. As buildings age, key building systems must be repaired or replaced. This project focuses on building envelope repairs and/or roof replacements at locations such as City Hall, the Fire Administration/City Hall Annex building, the Police Department, Fire Stations and the Public Works Service Center. Interior renovations will also be conducted at various Fire Stations, the Fire Administration/City Hall Annex building and the Public Works Service Center. In addition, the City’s fuel system will be expanded to accommodate the City’s fleet of vehicles. The City of Sugar Land manages over 70 buildings across the City. We utilize our Facility Condition Assessment and facility maintenance records to identify projects that need to be completed, the timing associated with the projects and the estimated cost.
The City has a Facilities Master Plan that we utilize to guide decision-making processes when considering the utilization of resources and the construction of new buildings. The most recent Facilities Master Plan update was completed in 2014 and focuses on facility requirements that are based on department growth that is generated by population growth or other City Council approved programs.
A list of available positions can be viewed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All Fort Bend County Libraries offer free computer use. Evening and weekend hours are available:
You can also check online for additional locations.
Workforce Solutions can help you complete the online application free of charge. Visit one of the following locations:
Visit Work Solutions for additional locations.
If you do not already have an email address, free email is available through a number of providers.
In addition to successful completion of Sugar Land’s Public Safety Dispatch training program, recruits will attend a 40-hour Basic Telecommunications Course and a Crisis Communications course, following the curriculum developed by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. At the completion of this training and one year of service as a Public Safety Dispatcher, they will be certified as a Basic Telecommunicator by the State of Texas.
The current schedule for the Imperial Market zoning case calls for a public hearing with the Planning & Zoning Commission on September 24, 2015. This hearing will allow members of the public to gain additional information about the development and provide input. Please feel free to provide your email address to the Planning Department at email@example.com
Imposing a narrow statewide cap on city budgets will not provide homeowners and businesses with meaningful tax relief because it doesn’t address the real cause of high property taxes – the state’s failure to address school financing in a meaningful way. Property owners know that the highest portion of their property taxes goes to funding schools and only a small percentage actually goes to the City. In Sugar Land in 2016, school district taxes accounted for up to 65 percent of your tax bill while city taxes represented only about 15 percent. Restricting city property taxes may sound good, but it won’t lower your tax bill in a significant way.
In fact, had the City relied on the legislature to provide “tax relief” in 2016 through a 4 percent revenue cap rather than the City Council approved 2 percent increase to the Homestead Exemption, Sugar Land residents would have ended up paying $12 MORE on their tax bill in 2016.
Additionally, the City would have lost its flexibility to respond to economic conditions, and with that, its ability to keep taxes low. Sugar Land is different from every other city in Texas. State restrictions on cities have to be broad and flexible enough to take into account the vast differences between cities across the state.
While that statement might sound concerning, comparing the growth in median household income to total tax levies is very misleading. You cannot compare an average to a total. Median household income mainly increases due to inflation while total property tax collections mainly increase due to growth such as annexation or new construction.
For example, when Sugar Land annexes the New Territory and Greatwood communities later this year, the City will grow its tax base and revenues; however, looking at the demographics, these communities have a similar median household income. Therefore, the tax collections will increase while the median household income essentially shows no growth at all. For anyone to say that those two growth rates should be the same is just inaccurate and misleading. Commercial property development does not impact median household incomes or population, but still places significant demands for services on the City.
State officials have no responsibility to provide local services or to meet unfunded state and federal mandates on cities. Applying a one-size-fits-all solution does not work as cities have unique characteristics due to differing mixes of tax base, age and demographics of the community, and economic activity. Elected city officials have constituents to represent. If an elected city councilmember acts contrary to the will of the citizens, that councilmember is not reelected. City officials are in the best position to make decisions on local property taxes because they interact with city residents every day, spend hours reviewing city budgets, and are personally familiar with the priorities of their communities. Each Sugar Land voter elects four of seven city council members – one mayor, one district council member and two at-large council members. Contrast that with one senator and one representative of the 181 members of the Texas Legislature, and you can see how local government is the government closest to the people.
Putting narrow statewide restrictions on city budgets will limit the city's ability to do the things citizens want and expect. About half of the city's General Fund budget, which is supported primarily by sales and property taxes, goes to funding for police, fire fighting, and emergency medical services. Comparing public safety funding to the total city budget is misleading, as the other funds such as water utilities and capital improvements are specific to those funds and are not available to support these departments. Narrowing restrictions will impact the city's ability to hire quality personnel, offer competitive salaries and benefits, upgrade technology and replace outdated equipment.
It hasn’t, it’s actually gone down a lot! Sugar Land has the second lowest tax rate in Texas for a city of similar size. For an average tax bill of $1,100, or only $3 a day (less than a tall latte), you get one of the safest and best places to live in Texas. Sugar Land voters approved a half-cent local sales tax for property tax reduction which has helped to lower the tax rate from 50 cents in 1993. The City has found that the most effective way to provide relief from rising valuations has been to increase the homestead exemption which targets tax relief directly to homeowners and results in a higher savings to residents compared to additional decreases to the city’s tax rate. Since 2007, the homestead exemption has been raised from 1 to 10 percent – the equivalent of 3 cents on the tax rate. Additionally, the City offers a $70,000 exemption for over-65 or disabled homeowners, and these taxpayers are also eligible to defer taxes owed on their property.
Over the past two decades, the state has demanded ever increasing financial contributions from local governments for state highway construction projects. Revenue caps will force cities to focus their restricted funding on local street improvements and curtail discretionary spending on state projects.
Commercial property development provides increases to property tax collections that do not affect household incomes or tax bills; in fact, commercial property helps to buy-down residential tax bills. Revenue caps will reduce the ability of cities to offer the services, amenities and infrastructure improvements that have been crucial to closing the deal in many corporate relocation decisions that create jobs for our citizens.
The legislature has the power to provide meaningful property tax relief by changing the way education is financed in Texas but has chosen not to do so. The largest burden of school funding has been pushed down to the local level by Texas lawmakers over many years in an effort to cut the state’s budget. The more you pay to the school district in property taxes, the less the state must spend on education. The proposed revenue caps do not apply to school districts, the largest part of your tax bill, so homeowners will find no meaningful tax relief. Despite this, language in the 2018-2019 state budget requires a 13 percent increase in school property taxes. The language in the 2018-2019 state budget bill (SB 1) reads, “Property values, and the estimates of local tax collections on which they are based, shall be increased by 7.04 percent for tax year 2017 and by 6.77 percent for tax year 2018.”
Several providers offer internet, telecom, and/or cable services within the City of Sugar Land. Windstream and Comcast are the two most common providers in the City; however, companies like PS Lightwave, AT&T, enTouch, and others, also, offer one or more of these services. Availability is mostly dependent on where you live – providers make business decisions on where to provide their services based on network capabilities and market research. The best way to determine product availability in your area is to contact the individual company directly.
No. Prior to September 1, 2005, the City maintained a franchise agreement with Comcast to allow it to operate a cable system in the public rights-of-way. That cable franchise did not provide Comcast exclusive access to public rights-of-way.
On September 1, 2005, state law established a State-Issued Certificate of Franchise Authority (SICFA) for certain cable service providers. Under the 2005 law, as the incumbent cable service provider, Comcast was excluded from obtaining a SICFA until its franchise with the City expired.
In 2011, state law changed to allow cable service providers in municipalities with a population less than 215,000 to terminate their unexpired franchises and to transition to the SICFA as long as notice was given to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the municipality before January 1, 2012.
On October 24, 2011, Comcast notified the City that it was terminating its franchise and would be transitioning to the SICFA. Comcast has received the SICFA from the PUC, which is now the franchising authority for the provision of cable or video service within the City.
Most tickets can be handled without a court appearance. You have options!
If you have not taken a defensive driving course in the last 12 months and if you were not speeding more than 25 miles over the speed limit, you may have your ticket dismissed by taking a defensive driving class. You must request permission from the court before you sign up for the course. Please refer to the Driving Safety Course section of this website under General Court Information.
If you received a ticket for driving without a license, you may request a deferred disposition or probation to keep your ticket off your driving record. The instructions for requesting a Deferred Disposition can be found in the Fines, Forms, and Payments section of this website.
If you received a ticket for Failure to present a driver’s license on demand, but your license was valid at the time, you can have your ticket dismissed by presenting your license and paying a court administrative fee of $10 at the lobby windows. No courtroom appearance is necessary.
If you received a defective equipment violation ticket and you have repaired the defect, you can have your ticket dismissed by paying a court administrative fee of $20 at the lobby windows. No courtroom appearance is necessary.
If you received a ticket for an expired registration sticker, but the registration has been renewed at the county tax office and the sticker was not expired for longer than 60 days, you can have your ticket dismissed. You will need to present proof that you have paid your late fees to the county tax office. You can take care of this transaction at the court lobby windows by paying a $20 court administrative fee and presenting your receipt from the tax office. No courtroom appearance is necessary.
If you received a ticket for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility, you may request a deferred disposition or probation to keep your ticket off your driving record. The instructions to request a Deferred Disposition can be found in the Fines, Forms, and Payments section of this website. If you received a ticket for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility, but you were insured at the time, there is no fee to have your ticket dismissed. You will need to present a copy of your insurance card with your name listed as an insured driver at the lobby windows. You will be required to complete a motion to dismiss which will be provided for you. No courtroom appearance is necessary.
You need to complete a payment plan form. A complete explanation of payment plans offered by the court and all the required forms can be found on our website in the Payment Plans & Extension-to-Pay tab under Fines, Forms, and Payments.
NOTE: Other transactions can be made at the court lobby windows. You may be able to keep your ticket from becoming a conviction on your driving record even if your particular violation is not mentioned here.
If you have more than one citation or if the time is past the appearance date on your ticket, you may have to make an appearance in court. When you receive a citation from the City of Sugar Land Police, you are given a date to appear. The court date in listed under the issue date. On handwritten tickets it is near the bottom of the ticket.
Most tickets can be handled without a court appearance. You have options! You may be eligible to have your ticket dismissed or qualify for a program to keep your ticket off your driving record. Refer to the Dismissals page for more information.
On June 1, 2019, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law banning red-light traffic cameras in the State of Texas. You no longer have to pay for red light camera tickets in Sugar Land, Texas.
Refer to the Warrant Information page for more information.
Refer to the Deferred Disposition page for more information.
Actual: Departments provide data to the Office of Performance & Accountability (OPA) using sources utilized by the department. For example, the Finance Department sends OPA data from the Fort Bend County Central Appraisal District for the Residential Revaluation Goal Measure.
Target: Individual Goal Measure targets are provided by the department that owns the Goal Measure. Targets are either based on historical data, or, current levels of service. All targets have been approved by the city’s Executive Team.
Results: The “results” field will refer to the following terms:
In 2014, the City Council began developing measures of success for each Mid-Term Priority. This process began the development of the City Council Goal Measures. By 2015 the City Council formally adopted 30 Goal Measures by Resolution. Our representative body has been heavily engaged throughout this process, but staff took citizen involvement to the next level in 2016 with the formation of citizen focus groups. The focus groups were included in the dashboard review process and were comprised of various civic organizations including: Homeowners Association Members, Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni, and Sugar Land 101 Alumni.
Citizen involvement does not stop at the focus groups. The Goal Measures Dashboard has a feedback feature where visitors to the website are free to comment and ask questions about the dashboard directly to staff.
The City of Sugar Land’s long-term vision for our community states that by 2032 Sugar Land will:
In order to achieve our long-term vision, the City Council has established mid-term priorities. Through the establishment of mid-term priorities, the City Council provides direction for the City. These priorities and strategies have a five-year planning horizon and complement the goals detailed in our Vision. The five Mid-Term Priorities are: Safest City in America, Strong Local Economy, Responsible City Government, and Great Place to Live. Therefore, the City Council selected 30 Goal Measures that they believe best measure our success at achieving the Mid-Term Priorities. Each Goal Measure links the performance of key operations to the City Council Mid-Term Priorities.
Using an average response time has the potential to imply that residents should expect our first responders to arrive by the reported average response time. However, reporting an average response time is actually committing to respond to slightly more than 50% of emergency calls within the average response time. Therefore, our measure is more accurate because it provides residents with the percentage of emergency calls responded to within a target time based on current levels of service.
The targets for our Goal Measures are based off of both the City’s current levels of service and historical data. As such, it was important to the City to set targets that are achievable. Because the City of Sugar Land holds the value of continuous improvement in high esteem, individual Goal Measures, results, and targets are reviewed annually with the City Council. For example, if the City has been consistently meeting a target, staff and City Council would discuss making the target more stringent during this annual review process.
The City is held accountable for our results in three major ways:
The current Mid-Term Priorities were selected because they provide the proper direction for our City Council to achieve our long-term vision. The long-term vision, as well as the Mid-Term Priorities, are reviewed annually by the City Council. This is to ensure the selected Mid-Term Priorities will continue to provide the ideal path for achieving our long-term vision.
Goal Measures data is collected and reported each quarter – with the exception of measures that are reported annually. However, it is important to note that our “Citizen Survey” measures are collected once every few years.
As a City government, it is important to remain accountable and transparent to our residents. Therefore, the Goal Measures Dashboard empowers our residents and visitors to review the City’s progress on achieving its goals. The dashboard also assists City Management and City Council in making data-driven decisions on key priority areas.
Hours are Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
For more information about activities and programs, visit the T.E. Harman Center's website.
A wide variety of classes and activities take place at the Imperial Park Recreation Center and the T.E. Harman Center for senior programs.
The City of Sugar Land annexed the 754-acre Park in January 2016. The City of Sugar Land provides police patrol and park maintenance services. The Cullinan Park Conservancy is responsible for the promotion, enhancement, and protection of Cullinan Park.
A park facility reservation must be done in person at the Imperial Park Recreation Center (234 Matlage Way, Sugar Land, TX 77478)
We are open 7 days a week for your convenience. The deposit is due at the time you make your reservation and rental fees are due 10 days before your event.
Additionally, facility rental availability can be viewed online at http://parkreservations.sugarlandtx.gov.
The Imperial Park Recreation Center staff can be reached to get more athletic facility availability information: 281-275-2885
The deposit is due when you make your reservation and the rental fees are due 10 days before you event.
At this time the IPRC memberships are offered per person. For Sugar Land residents a membership is $10.25 per year, and for non-residents $155 per year for those over 10 years of age. Anyone under 10 must be accompanied by an adult with a membership.
The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan (PROSMP) is one of eight City master plans that implements goals from the Comprehensive Plan. A review of the 2005 parks plan in 2016 revealed that 95 percent of the priority projects have been completed or designed. An update is required to evaluate future needs.
A comprehensive plan documents a City’s broad vision and roadmap. A comprehensive plan is comprised of base information, vision and goal statements, and a set of master plans that outline objectives and strategies for land use, transportation, infrastructure and public facilities, including possible future capital improvements, development regulations, or major policies. The Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan (The Plan) must help achieve the goals from the Comprehensive Plan so that the City’s resources and efforts are aligned to achieve the same vision and goals. The specific goals from the Comprehensive Plan PROSMP aims to achieve are:
The PARCS Board is a citizen advisory Board that has provided feedback and is a sounding board for ideas and recommendations for the update. The Board has also participated in stake holder meetings and other forms of public input. They provided the recommendation to the City Council to adopt the plan on November 14, 2017.
Opportunities for participation in the planning included stakeholder meetings, statistically valid resident survey, public open houses and input gathered from Online Town Hall. Residents were encouraged to provide their input through notices in the Sugar Land Today publication, E-news Blasts, social media, and print media. The option to further comment was available online in conjunction with the posted Draft Master Plan. The public also had the opportunity to speak at public hearings at the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council meetings when the Plan was on the Agenda for recommendation and approval.
Yes. The Online Town Hall summary report can be found in Appendix A of the Plan. The statistically valid resident survey results can be found in Appendix D of the Plan. The summaries of the all public engagement activities are captured in Chapter 2 of The Plan.
The plan identifies facilities and programs that residents would like to see added or improved. Based on community input the City will prioritize the needs. The highest priorities will receive the most consideration for future funding through the City’s Capital Improvement Program and Operating budgets.
Yes, Greatwood and New Territory are considered in the Master Plan. Since The Plan draft is completed before the annexation, the numbers for the current population and parkland area do not count these two subdivisions. However, the study area of The Plan includes the City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), which includes Greatwood and New Territory. The park service area, inventory, analysis, plan recommendations and implementation action plan all consider Greatwood and New Territory as part of the community. Residents of the 2 communities were encouraged to provide input through the on-line town hall.
This will depend on the cost associated with the program or development. The Plan’s forecast is 10 years, but the implementation will begin upon the adoption of The Plan in 2018 and be phased over this ten-year period. The City budgets for improvements annually based on the funding available. For larger construction projects, a future bond election would be anticipated.
First, a recommended list of projects was developed based on public engagement and a parks inventory and analysis. The identified projects were then categorized in accordance with the five goals from the Comprehensive Plan. As the steering committee, PARCS Board members were asked to rate each project to three priority levels: High Priorities, which are recommended to start in 1-3 years; Moderate Priorities, which are recommended to start in 4-6 years; and Longer-Term Priorities, which are recommended to start in 7-10+ years. The PARCS Board then performed a prioritization workshop as a group to conclude the priorities as a team. A prioritized Implementation Action Plan was then developed based on the PARCS Board’s consensus, how realistic the timelines are, the potential cost of the projects, and the community’s input. The Implementation Action Plan was then presented to PARCS Board again for feedback and approval.
Yes, the Master Plan recognizes the high-utilization of the T.E. Harman Center and identifies it as a high priority to perform a study of the T.E. Harman Center facility to determine if it can be enlarged or expanded to increase space and programming opportunities (Action ID 2.1.5, Page 190). It also recommends to evaluate the feasibility of discontinuing non-resident memberships (Action ID 2.1.1, Page 187). Once The Plan is adopted, staff will work on the related strategies accordingly to address this issue.
Yes. With the goal of establishing environmentally responsible community, beautiful community, and destination activity centers, the Plan recommends to evaluate opportunities for the naturalization of existing park areas (Action ID 5.2.2, Page 212), establish or expand park design guidelines to improve environmental compatibility (Action ID 4.1.1, Page 207), and preserve natural habitat and educate the resident on wildlife through Brazos River Park Master Plan Update (Action ID 1.1.1, Page 169), Gannoway Lake Park Implementation ( Action ID 1.2.2, Page 178), Brazos River Park improvements, (Action ID 1.1.8, Page 175), and Cullinan Park Improvements ( Action ID 1.1.5, Page 172).
The plan’s recommendations are long-term in nature and also include recommendations to pursue strategies for alternative funding, such as partnerships, sponsorships, and fee adjustments. Regardless of when implemented, however, the implementation of the recommendations in the plan will be fiscally constrained by the City’s annual budget and long range budget forecast but alternative funding methods may be pursued to help offset reduced funding. For example, for City hosted events, the City will pursue increased sponsorships.
The 2020 Census counts every person living in the United States and the five U.S. territories.
Participating in the census is required by law, even if you recently completed another survey from the Census Bureau. A complete and accurate count is critical for you and your community, because the results of the 2020 Census will affect community funding, congressional representation, and more. As a result of the 2010 Census, the State of Texas received approximately $59B annually – equivalent to $1,548 per person per year over the decade.
By April 1, 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census. You will have three options for responding:
The 2020 Census marks the first time you’ll have the option to respond online. You can even respond on your mobile device.
If you do not respond, the U.S. Census Bureau will follow up in person to collect your response.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that completing the census questionnaire will take 10 minutes on average.
The City is striving for 100% completion. For the 2010 census, 85% of the Sugar Land population completed the census. The goal is to surpass 85% completion rate for the 2020 census.
The Census results help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities, like Sugar Land, each year. The distribution of these dollars depends on the accuracy of the Census, including significant support for health care, housing, transportation, food and more. Being undercounted by even one percent in 2020 could result in a significant loss in federal funding for Texas — at least $300 million a year.*
The city of Sugar Land had an 85% response rate in the last census, resulting in a shortfall of 15% of households not counted.
The results, collected once a decade, help determine how billions of dollars in federal funding flow into states and communities each year.
The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to protect your answers and keep them strictly confidential. In fact, every employee takes an oath to protect your personal information for life. The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the U.S. Code to keep your information confidential.
Under Title 13, the Census Bureau cannot release any identifiable information about you, your home, or your business, even to law enforcement agencies. The law ensures that your private data is protected and that your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.
Census data are widely and wisely used. Census data are used in many ways. Some examples include:
All people residing in the United States on April 1, 2020 should be counted. This includes permanent residents as well as those who are here temporarily.
Citizens of foreign countries who are living in the United States, including members of the diplomatic community, should be counted at the U.S. residence where they live and sleep most of time. Citizens of foreign countries who are visiting the United States on vacation or business on April 1, 2020, should not be counted.
Your personal information is kept confidential. The Census Bureau is bound by federal law to protect your information, and your data is used only for statistical purposes.
Your responses are compiled with information from other homes to produce statistics, which never identify your home or any person in your home. Learn more about the Census Bureau protects your information here: https://2020census.gov/en/data-protection.html
The answers you provide are used only to produce statistics. You are kept anonymous: The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or anyone else in your home.
The U.S. Census Bureau will release data products to the public on it’s website www.census.gov once the census is complete (the data is typically released in phases, with the final data products most likely be released sometime between the years 2021-2023).
The Census Act of 1790 established the concept of “usual residence” as the main principle in determining where people should be counted, and this concept has been followed in all subsequent censuses. “Usual residence” has been defined as the place where a person lives and sleeps most of the time. This place is not necessarily the same as the person’s voting residence or legal residence.
If you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. This includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time.
Per the Census Bureau’s residence criteria, in most cases students living away from home at school should be counted at school, even if they are temporarily elsewhere due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. This means that even if a college or board student is home on Census Day, April 1, they should be counted according to the residence criteria, which states they should be counted where they live and sleep most of the time.
For more information about how the Census Bureau is adjusting operations to make sure college students are counted, visit https://www.2020census.gov/en/news-events/press-releases/modifying-2020-operations.html
It is important to remember to count any children who are living with you. This includes:
Complete Count Committees (CCC) are volunteer committees established by tribal, state, and local governments and community leaders or organizations to increase awareness and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census. CCCs serve as state and local “census ambassador” groups that play an integral part in ensuring a complete and accurate count of the community in the 2020 Census. Success of the census depends on community involvement at every level. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot conduct the 2020 Census alone.
Some of the challenges in getting an accurate count is making sure every resident in Sugar Land understands what the Census is and what it isn’t, and knows the importance of the Census, that it is safe and easy. In addition to non-native speakers, Sugar Land has a large population of foreign-born residents (35% according to the 2013-2017 American Community Survey). The Committee is attempting to overcome these obstacles by working with local faith-based and other community-based organizations. Additionally, the CCC will be translating some of the Census materials into other languages to help reach these groups. Our goal is to meet people where they are, including at community events and meetings, and to reach them through people they trust.
You can learn more about the 2020 Census by visiting 2020census.gov.
For the 2020 census, you may respond online, by mail, by phone or through an in-person interview. Starting on March 12, 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will begin to contact households through a series of mailings:
The Land Use Plan is a high level document that outlines policy direction and guidance for development, redevelopment and land use decisions. The Plan is published as Chapter 6 of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. The Plan furthers the Comprehensive Plan’s overall vision and sets out a specific land use vision and goals for the city and outlines actions that will achieve those goals to ensure Sugar Land continues to thrive. The Land Use Plan is not zoning or a regulatory document; however, the city’s zoning regulations are guided by and must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. In fact, the city is required to have a Comprehensive Plan if it has zoning.
A comprehensive plan documents a City’s broad vision and is commonly referred to as a City’s roadmap. A comprehensive plan is comprised of base information, vision and goal statements, and a set of master plans that outline objectives and strategies for land use, transportation, infrastructure and public facilities, including possible future capital improvements, development regulations, or major policies. The city is required to have a Comprehensive Plan if it has zoning, and the city’s zoning regulations are guided by and must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
No, any development proposal that is required to go through a zoning process will still have an opportunity for public input. Public Hearings at Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council are scheduled for zoning applications to provide the opportunity for the public to give input and feedback on the proposal. The Land Use Plan and public feedback inform the staff recommendation as well as the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council through the decision-making process. It is important to note that when a development proposal is submitted, moving an application forward through the zoning process is no guarantee of staff support or ultimate Planning and Zoning Commission or City Council approval.
While the City of Sugar Land cannot control the decisions of independent school districts, this Plan prioritizes the preservation and protection of single-family neighborhoods in Sugar Land and encourages increased coordination with the school districts. The Plan requires a school impact analysis be completed when new residential is proposed as part of an activity center.
This is a long term plan looking out 25-30 years. There is no expectation that all or any of the areas identified for redevelopment will occur within that timeframe. The Plan provides a series of guiding principles that will be utilized by staff, Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council to make the best decisions when future proposals are introduced by the private development community.
An activity center is an area with a mix of uses, such as office, retail, residential and civic institutions, integrated together in a compact walkable area. The Plan identifies two types of activity centers: Regional Activity Centers (RAC) and Neighborhood Activity Centers (NAC).
The Plan identifies five areas as RAC strategically located along regional highways to ensure intense commercial, retail and other high-traffic destinations are contained within designated areas and separated from single-family residential neighborhoods. Each RAC is intended to have its own unique identity providing different amenities for both residents and employees for entertainment, dining, and shopping.
The Plan identifies eight areas as NAC located on Arterial streets, which are envisioned to be small mixed-use centers that act as a “Main Street” for nearby neighborhoods. These will largely be created through the redevelopment of older commercial areas.
The Land Use Plan includes formal direction on multi-family housing that has not been included before in the Comprehensive Plan. The Land Use Plan provides guidance for stronger restrictions on multi-family development, including:
In comparison, the City’s current R-4 (multi-family) zoning district regulations reflect previous policy guidance regarding stand-alone multi-family housing, from the 2004 Land Use Plan - including that there should be no more than 20 dwelling units per acre and a maximum of 200 units at any single location. No vacant R-4 zoned property exists in the city limits today and the updated Land Use Plan recommends no new standalone, single-use, multi-family residential development within the city should be approved.
Additionally, the updated Land Use Plan provides clear guidance for PDs, limits the specific locations within the city that such residential development should be allowed, and subjects any new multi-family residential to an overall citywide proportion as well as site-specific guidance.
As a note, the majority of existing multi-family apartments and condos in the city today were not developed in accordance with previous Land Use Plan policies or R-4 zoning regulations, as they were built prior to being annexed into the city or prior to the multi-family zoning regulations being adopted.
Development on Tract 5 will have no drainage impact on Ditch H or Telfair. The Tract 5 property is within Fort Bend County Levee Improvement District (LID) 17. This LID has provided all of the required detention for existing and future development within its boundaries. The Tract 5 location outfalls directly to the Brazos River southwest of the UH campus through a control structure that is operated by the LID.
Additionally, there are specific site drainage requirements and standards for development within the City of Sugar Land. All development (commercial, single-family residential, office, etc.) must be built in accordance with city engineering standards and will follow national and local standards. As per City regulations, all development within the City of Sugar Land must have no-impact on other areas to be permitted, when designed for the 1% chance event.
Your property will not be affected by the change in zoning from interim to permanent and zoning does not affect any deed restrictions or platted setbacks.
The properties in the Sunset Cove and Stonehaven subdivisions were platted (subdivided) as zero-lot line residential, which are also known as patio homes. This means these lots have different setbacks and house placement standards from other New Territory subdivisions. The City of Sugar Land has a dedicated zoning district, R-1Z Zero Lot Line Single-Family, for subdivisions platted similarly to Sunset Cove and Stonehaven. Therefore, the R-1Z zoning district is more appropriate for Sunset Cove and Stonehaven and will be consistent with the layout of the neighborhood, the existing plat, and deed restrictions.
You received this notice because the City is required to notify property owners within 200 feet of a zoning change in accordance with state law. Your property will not be affected and no action is required from you.
You are not required to attend the public hearings and no action is required from you. However, it is your right as a property owner to attend and/or speak at the public hearings.
No, you are not required to speak or provide comments during the public hearings.
Please note that if you do not wish to speak during the public hearing, you can still submit written comments ahead of the meeting. A staff member will read the comments into the record during the public hearing.
In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting will be conducted online. Members of the public wishing to speak during the public hearings may do so in two ways:
You can also watch the meeting from the comfort of your home using the following options:
Please note that the above options are to watch the meetings only and do not offer an opportunity to participate in the meeting.
Zoning is a tool that most cities use to regulate land uses (e.g. residential, commercial, office, or industrial) and the physical development of land such as the size of buildings, and how buildings relate to their surroundings, including other buildings, open spaces, and the street. The purpose of zoning is to protect the value of property, prevent the establishment of nuisances, ensure compatibility between adjacent uses of land, and help to implement the land use objectives of a community’s comprehensive plan.
The City of Sugar Land is divided, or zoned, into thirteen (13) standard zoning districts and multiple customized planned development (PD) districts. The location and boundaries of the various zoning districts are shown on the City of Sugar Land official zoning map, which is available online at http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/273/City-Maps, under “Zoning Districts.” Each standard zoning district has development regulations that are housed in Chapter 2, Zoning Regulations of the City’s Land Development Code.
Interim Zoning is assigned to annexed areas at the time when the annexation is effective. This typically classifies the property into General Business (B-2-I) or Single Family Residential (R-1-I). However, the City of Sugar Land has several options for each of these uses. Over the following years, the city will conduct research both in the field and through Fort Bend County Records to assess which Business or Residential Zone is the most appropriate for each piece of property. Once the research is concluded, the City will move forward with Permanent Zoning—which changes the ‘interim zoning’ to the ‘permanent zoning’ district that most accurately reflects the building pattern of the area.
Greatwood will follow a similar process as New Territory later this year where single family residential properties will have a change in zoning from Standard Single Family Residential – Interim (R-1-I) to Standard Single Family Residential (R-1). Greatwood property owners will be notified when the City initiates the zoning process in Greatwood.
The City of Sugar Land Planning Department sent letters to property owners in The Hill area on June 10, 2020 notifying them of upcoming public hearings for a proposed rezoning and Development Code changes, including changes to The Hill Area Residential (HR-1) zoning district regulations. The public hearings are scheduled for the July 7th City Council Meeting where City Staff will present two ordinances to City Council on the proposed changes. Letters were sent to property owners in The Hill and property owners within 200 feet of the area being rezoned.
The homes east of Wood Street and north of Lakeview Drive are proposed to be rezoned as a result of The Hill Community Engagement project. In 2018, based on resident feedback, the City initiated a project to engage The Hill residents and property owners in evaluating whether there is a desire to maintain the character of The Hill neighborhood.
During the public engagement process, city staff informed The Hill community that the homes north of Lakeview Drive were zoned Standard Single-Family Residential (R-1) rather than Hill Area Residential (HR-1). The 38 single-family homes are very similar in character to the rest of The Hill neighborhood, and the community provided positive feedback to include them in the HR-1 zoning district. As a result of this community input, staff has initiated the process to rezone these properties to Hill Area Residential (HR-1).
Property owners can view the draft changes to the HR-1 zoning district regulations, including regulations that did not change, using the document link below. Any new or modified regulations are marked in yellow.
If City Council approves the rezoning for the homes east of Wood Street and north of Lakeview Drive, property owners wishing to make modifications to their home will need to follow regulations for The Hill Area Residential (HR-1) zoning district. However, property owners will not be required to change existing structures to meet the HR-1 zoning regulations.
In addition to the proposed rezoning and as a result of The Hill Community Engagement project, Development Code changes to the HR-1 zoning district regulations will also be presented to City Council at the July 7th meeting. City staff held an online town hall from February 28 through April 30 for The Hill community to provide input. The Planning and Zoning Commission also held public hearings at their May 28th meeting.
Property owners can access the current HR-1 zoning district regulations through Municode and review the proposed changes to the HR-1 zoning district regulations on the project webpage at www.sugarlandtx.gov/1981/HR-1-Zoning-District.
In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the meeting will be conducted online. The City Council Chamber will be limited to 25% capacity. Members of the public wishing to speak during the public hearings scheduled for the July 7th City Council meeting regarding a proposed rezoning and Development Code changes may do so in three ways:
Written comments will be read into the record by City Staff. Those who register to participate live during the public hearings will receive instructions from the Office of the City Secretary. The meeting will live stream at https://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1238/SLTV-16-Live-Video or https://www.youtube.com/user/SugarLandTXgov/live. Sugar Land Comcast Cable Subscribers can also tune-in on Channel 16.
Should the Centers of Disease Control, and/or the prevailing appropriate authority, lift the restrictions related to social distancing and the avoidance of large and small gatherings in public spaces prior to 72 hours of the date of the public hearings, the City of Sugar Land will provide notice to the public on the City Council meeting agenda at www.sugarlandtx.gov under “Meeting Agendas.”
For questions or assistance, please contact the Office of the City Secretary (281) 275-2730.
The Development Code is the collection of City ordinances that address all aspect of land development, including subdivision platting, zoning, site plan review, landscaping and tree protection, signs, flood mitigation and technical building codes. The Development Code ensures safe, orderly, and efficient development throughout the City in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan by providing for the public health, safety and general welfare of citizens. The Development Code was originally adopted in 1997 and provides the basis for the review of projects submitted by a property owner wanting to alter or develop property within the City of Sugar Land. The Development Code is updated periodically to clarify and update development standards in the City.
The City of Sugar Land is divided, or zoned, into thirteen (13) standard zoning districts and multiple customized planned development (PD) districts. The location and boundaries of the various zoning districts are shown on the City of Sugar Land official zoning map, which is available online at http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/273/City-Maps, under “Zoning Districts.” Each standard zoning district has development regulations that are housed in Chapter 2, Zoning Regulations of the City’s Development Code.
A rezoning involves a change from one official zoning district to another. When a property within the city limits of Sugar Land is rezoned, an ordinance is passed by City Council effecting a change in zoning designation and corresponding regulations for that property. For example, if a property is rezoned from Standard Single-Family Residential (R-1) to The Hill Area Residential (HR-1) and a property owner wants to build an addition, then the property must follow its new HR-1 zoning district development regulations. The Official Zoning District Map is also updated to reflect the zoning change. Before City Council takes action on the rezoning ordinance, the Planning and Zoning Commission provides a recommendation to the Council, but only Council has the authority to approve or deny rezonings. A property owner or the City can initiate rezoning a piece of property.
The Hill Area Residential (HR-1) district is a residential zoning district for the neighborhood known as The Hill, and was created with the adoption of the Development Code in 1997. This area is zoned differently due to the historic nature of the homes in this area, dating back to the 1920s when Sugar Land was a company town. However, the current regulations do not require new construction to build in character with the existing homes. In fact, many of the current HR-1 zoning district development regulations are the same as the Standard Single-Family Residential (R-1) zoning district regulations that apply throughout most residential areas in the city.
If approved by City Council, your property would change in zoning from Standard Single-Family Residential (R-1) to Zero Lot Line Single-Family Residential (R-1Z). This means your property will follow R-1Z building regulations when making improvements on your property.
The properties in your neighborhood were platted (subdivided) as zero-lot line residential, which are also known as patio homes. This means these lots have different setbacks and house placement standards from other single-family subdivisions. The City of Sugar Land has a dedicated zoning district, R-1Z Zero Lot Line Single-Family, for subdivisions platted similarly to your neighborhood. Therefore, the R-1Z zoning district is more appropriate for your neighborhood and will be consistent with the layout of the neighborhood, the existing plat, and deed restrictions.
The existing Standard Single-Family Residential (R-1) zoning classification prevents building on the zero lot line due to minimum side yard spacing requirements. The change in zoning will allow property owners to build on the zero-lot line if all other R-1Z requirements are met.
You received this notice because the City is required to notify property owners within 200 feet of a zoning change in accordance with state law. Your property will not be directly affected and no action is required from you.
However, if you would like to provide input and do not wish to speak during the public hearing, you can still submit written comments ahead of the meeting. A staff member will read the comments into the record during the public hearing.
You can watch the meeting from the comfort of your home using the following options:
The City of Sugar Land is divided, or zoned, into thirteen (13) standard zoning districts and multiple customized planned development (PD) districts. The location and boundaries of the various zoning districts are shown on the City of Sugar Land official zoning map, which is available online at http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/273/City-Maps, under “Zoning Districts.” Each standard zoning district has development regulations that are located in Chapter 2, Zoning Regulations of the City’s Land Development Code.
The Standard Single-Family Residential (R-1) District provides for the development of standard low-density, single-family detached dwellings and assigned to traditional single-family homes. The Zero Lot Line Single-Family Residential (R-1Z) District provides for the development of Single-Family Detached Dwellings in areas where reduced area and setback requirements may be accommodated. The district requires homes to be located on one side lot line to consolidate yard space and enhance privacy in exchange for an increase in lot coverage. Zero lot line neighborhoods contain one side yard, whereas traditional neighborhoods include two side yards – one on both sides of the house. A comparison of the R-1 and R-1Z district standards can be found below.
Now you can do it from your home. Click here to renew your drivers license without leaving home and standing for hours in a long line. The Department of Public Safety Visit the Texas Department of Public Safety’s website established this site for your convenience. It is available to all Texas residents who need to renew their driver’s license and I.D. cards.
The Sugar Land Police Department receives many requests on a daily basis for its patches. Because of the expense of patches and some Texas laws, the department does not currently sell, trade or give away its patches. For Your Information: The department is extremely proud of its patch. It contains the city seal. Inside the seal is the star of Texas. Inside the star is the crown of the Imperial Sugar Refinery. Sugar Land obtained its name because the jurisdiction was built around the Imperial Sugar Factory which unfortunately ceased its operations in 2003.
In Texas, certain criminal history information is available to individuals from the State of Texas Department of Public Safety. For further information contact the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Know your location when calling 911 from a cell phone. Although technology is advancing, cell phones can not currently provide the dispatch center with your exact address or location. Have the address ready, or use landmarks, mile markers, and road signs to describe where you are. Cell phones do not always direct you to the proper agency either. If this happens, remain patient and wait for the call taker to transfer you to the agency that will be able to assist you.
911 should only be dialed in emergency situations, for more information consult our brief guide on when and when not to call.
Red light cameras in Sugar Land were turned off on June 2, 2019.
All outstanding notice of violations, regardless of the date of violation, are exempt from payment responsibility and no further administrative hearings will be scheduled or heard. No refunds will be issued for violation payments already processed.
If your payment has not been processed, checks will be returned to you. If you do not receive your returned payment within 60 days of being mailed, contact Peggy Heinemeyer at 281-275-2055.
Fines assessed from red light camera violations were civil fines, not criminal. Because the violation was a civil matter, it did not count as a moving violation and was not reported on your driving record.
The city’s red light camera vendor will remove the equipment per the city’s contract. The removal process could take four to six months. Sugar Land’s RLC contract includes an adverse legislation termination clause. The city’s RLC vendor will remove their equipment at their cost.
The Sugar Land Police Department will continue to monitor traffic concerns and accidents. Traffic officers will be deployed to locations where there’s an identified need.
Per state law, the revenue from red light penalties was first used to cover expenses from the program. The remaining funds were split 50/50 between the state and City. These funds were placed in the City’s general fund to be used only for traffic safety programs, intersection improvements, public safety programs and traffic enforcement, including the Safe Light Sugar Land initiative.
Revenue from red light cameras represented approximately one percent of the City's general fund operating budget prior to termination of the program and could only be used for traffic safety programs.
Approximately 70 percent of violators did not live in Sugar Land.
A traffic circle can use stop signs and other controls. There are also no limits to the circle size or the entrance angles and widths of the approaches.
A modern roundabout only uses yield control on approaches. Roundabouts also have design limits on circle size and the approach entry designs.
No. The city is responsible for the trees along certain roadways, ditches, and highway frontage roads within the city as seen on this map. Trees along other major thoroughfares are owned and maintained by adjacent homeowner’s association (HOA) or property owner’s association (POA). Trees located adjacent to a private business or residential property, are the responsibility of the owner.
The owner of the tree is responsible for the maintenance of the tree. In some communities, the HOA will maintain the tree in front of a residential property. If you do not know, it would be best to contact your HOA prior to completing any maintenance on your tree.
The City prunes its trees on a 3-5 year rotation. Residents are encouraged to prune their trees on a similar rotation. All trees along roadways are inspected every three years for compliance with the City Ordinance. The City Ordinance requires that residential trees are pruned 12’ above the roadway and 8’ above the sidewalk; and all non-residential trees be pruned 14’ above the roadway and 8’ above the sidewalk.
Even if the city does not own the tree, city crews will come out 24/7 to respond to a concern. If it is a city-owned tree, even if it is a small branch, the city will remove the hazard. If it is a privately owned tree, the city will safely remove the tree from the roadway and place it in the yard or ROW of the owner of the tree. It is the responsibility of the owner of the tree to remove the debris.
Please contact Public Works by dialing 311 or 281-275-2450.
The City does not have an ordinance for the removal of trees on private property, but certain HOAs have deed restriction regarding trees. It would be best to contact your HOA prior to completing any work.
In certain areas of the community, trees were originally planted too close together. As these trees have grown over time, the canopies of the trees have grown together to create very dense shade in numerous areas. The shade has caused turf to die back and decline in many areas. This causes unsightly conditions and dirt to runoff into the storm sewers during rain events.
There are multiple benefits of tree removal. Removing trees will allow sunlight to penetrate to the turf below allowing turf to thrive and prevent soil runoff during rain events. This, in turn, improves the effectiveness of the storm sewers, creeks and stream, which can contribute to lower oxygen levels that are harmful to aquatic life. Tree removal will also allow streetlight to penetrate to the street to allow for safer roadways. Reducing the number of trees also allows for more growing space for remaining trees and allows them to increase their canopy. This will improve the appearance and value of the remaining trees. Since trees planted too close together can have root grafting, the spread of disease is also more prevalent.
The owner of the tree is responsible for making the decision of any tree removal.
Trees are often initially planted closer together in order to create an aesthetically pleasing look from the beginning. Unfortunately, the trees eventually mature and cause other issues.
Tree thinning is the process of selectively removing branches within the tree canopy to allow light to penetrate to the ground. Arborists recommend thinning of certain trees to protect the overall health of the canopy, which also protects the wildlife that uses the trees as habitats.
The Development Code requires trees to be replaced when removed IF they qualify as a Protected Tree under the definition in the Development Code. Protected Tree means a hardwood tree having a minimum caliper size of 8 inches or greater, as measured 4½ feet above ground level. Otherwise, if trees are removed from private property and the removal of those trees takes the property out of compliance with the Development Code landscaping regulations in Chapter 2, then the City would have recourse to require replanting to comply with the landscaping requirements in Chapter 2.
Regarding trees within the right-of-way, the City does not have a policy regarding the replacement of trees. In most cases, trees located in the right-of-way are owned and maintained by the adjacent property owner. They have the sole discretion on choosing to replace a tree that is removed from the right-of-way. Trees along State-owned ROW’s are maintained by the City and are replaced, budget dependent, if they are removed.
The Development Code requires trees to be replaced when removed IF they qualify as a Protected Tree under the definition in the Development Code. Protected Tree means a hardwood tree having a minimum caliper size of 8 inches or greater, as measured 4½ feet above ground level. This determination is made during the building permit process and review of a landscaping plan, if required. The landscaping requirements in Article XV (Landscaping and Screening Regulations) apply to any premise on which construction occurs for which a building permits is required. There are a few exceptions – restoration of a building with a historic designation, remodeling of the interior of a building or the façade of building that does not alter the location of exterior walls, or the expansion of a Single-family or Two-Family Dwelling.
In addition to TCEQ-required daily process control samples taken at the water plants and system entry points, the City of Sugar Land has certified operators that perform over 85 bacteriological tests monthly in its distribution system and collects quality assurance / quality control samples at least once a week.
Historically, the majority of the city’s drinking water supply has been from groundwater aquifers. There are twelve city groundwater plants ranging in size from approximately 3 to 12 million gallons per day (MGD) of production capacity. The water in these aquifers is from the Gulf Coast Aquifer system with an average depth of greater than 1,200 feet.
In response to Fort Bend Subsidence District’s (FBSD) 30 percent alternative water supply conversion deadline, the city constructed a 10.85-MGD surface water treatment plant (SWTP) that went into operation in 2013. The city has three sources of water available to supply the SWTP with surface water. The city holds a contract with the Gulf Coast Water Authority (GCWA), who delivers raw water from the Brazos River to Oyster Creek. The contract with GCWA provides 10 MGD (11,201 AFY) of raw water, and an agreement to purchase an additional 10 MGD for future needs. The city also has a contract with the Brazos River Authority (BRA) for 6,388 AFY of raw water. Finally, the city holds a water right on Oyster Creek which allows the City to withdraw 18,000 acre-feet per year (AFY).
The homeowner is responsible for the pipes within the house, as well as the water service line from the house to the water meter box. If you think you have a leak, please call us first to request a leak investigation. You may contact 311 or our 24-hour line at 281-275-2900.
If you notice a leak or discharge of water, whether it is in the street, from a meter, or a hydrant please call 311 or the city's 24-hour line at 281-275-2900 and a crew will be dispatched to investigate the situation and take appropriate actions.
There are two solutions to this problem:
The other thing to do is to check under your house and make sure that there are no leaking drain pipes there. Leaking pipes underneath your house are not the responsibility of the city. You should contact a plumber to repair those problems. If these checks do not tell you the problem, please call our 24-hour line at 281-275-2450.
City ordinance requires Sugar Land restaurants to have grease traps to intercept, separate and contain their FOG discharges.
For the homeowner, there are relatively easy ways to avoid this potential problem. Below are simple steps, that would eliminate many time-consuming and costly sewer line repairs or blockages in your private lines:
Please ensure the manhole covers on your property are clearly visible and easily accessible at all times. Please do not bury them or disguise them. Your assistance in keeping these areas clear will save valuable time when crews are repairing or maintaining the lines.
The cemetery was dedicated to the City by LID 17 during October of 2006. Sugar Land City Council approved Resolution No. 12-02 on Feb. 7, 2012. The resolution authorized the purchase of 63.331 acres of land for park purposes and the purchase of 11.426 acres of land for airport purposes from NNP-TELFAIR, LP per the 2003 Development Agreement.
Read more at http://agendas.sugarlandtx.gov/agendas/FY2012/020712cc/8b.pdf.
The city of Sugar Land negotiated with Newland to accept responsibility for the ownership of the cemetery, ensuring this historical property does not disappear through neglect like many others throughout the country.
The city zoned the cemetery and surrounding property as parkland, a designation that protects and preserves the property. The city went further and purchased all of the land around the cemetery. We planned enhancements that were intended to make the cemetery more accessible and highlight its historical importance.
The Fort Bend County Historical Commission is charged with carrying out a continuing survey of the county’s historical buildings, sites, cemeteries, archeological sites, both public and private, and other historical features within the county and reports to the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court and the Texas Historical Commission. Any new development that could have an impact on a historic site such as this must be vetted through the FB Historical Commission. The Texas Historical Commission performed ground-penetration studies of the property in May 2016.
The city will comply with all required laws prior to any future parkland development surrounding the cemetery.
The city’s plans for a community park in Telfair were halted by the failed passage of an $18.5 million bond proposition. Even though the regional park was defeated in the bond election by residents of Sugar Land, that property is still designated for future parkland in our Parks, Recreation Master Plan.
The City of Sugar Land created the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and contributes funding to ensure the preservation of the city’s history. The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation has been collecting local historical documents for a museum opened in 2018 at the Imperial Refinery site. This museum will eventually include a diversity of exhibits documenting the contributions of African-Americans and all others. Community groups are encouraged to support the development of the museum.