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.
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City Council approved an increase to the residential homestead exemption from 10% to 12% for the 2019 tax year. While the old exemption amount was shown on appraisal notices mailed out earlier this year, the higher amount will be applied automatically and will be reflected on your 2019 tax bill. You do not have to do anything to receive the increased exemption, as long as you have a homestead exemption already on file with the Fort Bend Central Appraisal District.
Yes, the FY20 budget includes funding to complete the projects that remain from the 2013 GO bond that voters approved for park projects. Remaining projects include:
For an overview of the projects please visit: http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1771/2013-Park-Bonds
The Integrated Water Resources Plan (IWRP) was recently adopted by City Council - the result of several years of work by the IWRP Task Force. The IWRP includes recommendations on how best to meet the long term water needs for our city, considering the cost, reliability and yield of new water supply options. For more information, please visit: http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/1747/Integrated-Water-Resource-Plan
For the average home in Sugar Land, the proposed tax rate of 33.2 cents with the increased homestead exemption of 12% results in a tax bill that is about $24 higher than last year, an increase of 2.2%. The City's portion only makes up about 15% of your total tax bill.
Yes, you will still see the same detailed lines on your monthly bill, rates will increase for services billed after January 1, 2020. The rate increase is needed to support increased costs of providing water and capital investment necessary to meet the next mandated groundwater usage reduction of 60%. Your water bill will continue to show the following detail lines:
Rates for water and wastewater services are increasing 5% and surface water charges for mandated groundwater reduction are increasing 10%. For a residential customer using 12,000 gallons of water with a winter average of 5,280 gallons, the monthly bill will increase by $4.87 or 6.8% overall. For a customer who uses less water (3,000 gallons) the impact is less- $2.19 per month or 6%.
Over the last several years the City has been making progress toward reducing dependence on sales tax to fund the operating budget, and the FY20 General Fund operating budget is 41% supported by sales tax revenues- one of the lowest percentages seen in many years.
The resiliency initiatives that were formalized in the most recent adoption of the Financial Management Policy Statements (FMPS) were designed to further strengthen the financial position of the City by lessening the impact of economic swings associated with sales tax - a major revenue stream for the City, but one that is highly volatile and difficult to forecast. One key assumption is a conservative estimate of sales tax revenue based on current recurring collections, with no growth assumed in the budget. Using this methodology, actual sales tax should come in higher than budgeted, as the City regularly receives one time payments and audit adjustments which are not included in the budget. These revenues are then available for one-time use in the following year’s budget as they become part of the fund balance.