Service Delivery Focused – Life Well Run in Sugar Land
Our championship workforce understands that public service is still a noble calling, and our employees’ commitment to making life sweeter and more refined for businesses, residents and visitors, is simply known as “The Sugar Land Way.”
With the City’s crime rate at an all-time low, our focused investments in streets and drainage – over $90 million in the last 5 years, and with recent enhancements to Emergency Medical Services, Sugar Land residents have never been safer. And our status as a premier public safety and service provider also means that the main driver in the City’s budget is personnel-driven. In fact, over 70% of general fund expenditures are driven by employee compensation – with 44% of total expenditures actually directly tied to our outstanding Police and Fire/EMS Departments.
With 97% of residents believing that Sugar Land is a great place to live in the latest citizen satisfaction survey, we know that it is important to you that we work hard each day to provide you with important, quality services. And with our City’s business-focused company town heritage still existing today, we also know it is important to you that we do that as efficiently as possible.
That is why our outstanding workforce of 804.5 dedicated employees represents just 6.8 employees per 1,000 residents, which is significantly less than our peer cities’ average of over 8 per 1,000. Those 804.5 employees are broken out by department in this chart:
Compensation & Benefits
Not only do we hire the best, we only reward the best! The City offers annual performance-based merit increases to employees; we do not offer any cost of living increases.
The Fiscal Year 2019 budget includes a 3% merit pool – just slightly above CPI. Additionally, the City’s Compensation Philosophy – adopted by the City Council – requires that our total benefits burden – as it relates to total compensation - be less than private sector benchmarks.
The chart below illustrates budgeted merit pools over the last 10 fiscal years as compared to the February and June CPI increases.
Employees can expect to contribute more toward their health benefits cost in 2019 due to an increase in claims activity. The City has been self-funded for medical claims since 2012, which has resulted in overall savings compared to fully insured rates.
The City manages benefits as a percentage of total compensation in accordance with the Compensation Philosophy, and benchmarks against public and private sector employers as shown in the chart below. The City's FY19 estimate for benefits as a percent of total compensation is well below the other sectors- public and private.
The City of Sugar Land doesn’t participate in the types of public pensions you regularly hear about on the news. We participate in the Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS) – a “hybrid” plan rather than a traditional formula-based defined benefit plan. TMRS is a leader in financial strength – strongly protecting and stewarding the tax dollars that support employee compensation. In fact, TMRS has a funded ratio of 87% - well above the benchmark standard of 80% - with a goal of getting to 100% in the future. Our participation in this program is another way that we are a state and national leader in financial management, as TMRS guards Sugar Land residents from facing the risk of ballooning pension obligations in the future like in other cities where residents are having to choose between tax increases and service cuts to fund pension obligations.The City's actuarial calculated contributions for 2019 will decrease, resulting in overall savings to the City.