Sugar Land, Texas – City Manager Allen Bogard recently submitted to City Council a proposed $231 million budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1, 2017.
The proposed budget includes $208.6 million for operations and $22.4 million for capital projects. It builds on decades of financial strength and addresses service needs and priorities, capital investment and implementation of the annexation of New Territory and Greatwood, as well as important strategies for maintaining a strong financial position in the future.
Efficiencies recommended in the proposed budget are the result of an enhanced accountability program to assess the performance of city services – these range from a streamlined method of preparing public meeting minutes to the continued implementation of a successful staffing model for the Fire/EMS Department. Public safety funding for the Police and Fire Departments continues to be robust and is equivalent to approximately half of the entire General Fund.
“The future resiliency of the city -- and the ability to continue providing a high level of services, the highest credit ratings and low taxes -- depends on decisions made today, balanced economic development, comprehensive future land use planning and a strong financial position,” said Bogard. “All of these factors were considered in the development of the budget to ensure what is funded meets the needs of our residents and visitors -- today and in the future. The proposal is also fiscally conservative and proactively responsive to changing consumer retail patterns, ongoing uncertainty in the oil/gas market and the City’s aging infrastructure and population.”
City Council will discuss the proposed budget during a series of public workshops in August, with Council action scheduled in September on the budget and tax rate.
The major focus of the proposed budget is the completion of the Annexation Service Delivery Plan that was presented to City Council in the fall of 2016. The budget has been developed to serve an estimated population of 117,868 as of January 1, 2018, a 34 percent increase from 2017.
The proposed budget fully incorporates annexation-related expenses, such as the addition of 19.5 new positions, and revenues such as sales taxes from the annexed areas. These expenses are covered by funds paid by Greatwood and New Territory residents in preparation for annexation. The proposed budget also provides for the implementation of a new citywide 311 call center to address the needs of the newly annexed Greatwood and New Territory residents as well as enhance the service levels of current residents.
The budget allocates $22.4 million to fund capital projects. Building on recent investments in a data-driven asset management system, the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) focuses on streets, sidewalks, drainage and utility infrastructure and includes resources that will maintain the longevity of these critical assets. Recurring rehabilitation projects have been reallocated to the departmental operating budgets, allowing them to be funded by more stable revenue sources in the General Fund.
The CIP program will continue to focus on capital asset construction and major reconstruction, including street, drainage and water/wastewater improvements. Streets and drainage continue to be priorities, with a total of $6.4 million included in the proposed budget. Funding for utility projects continues to emphasize rehabilitation of lift stations, the collection system and ground water storage tanks. Water and wastewater projects total $10.1 million. The proposed 2018-2022 CIP total is $130.6 million.
For the complete proposed FY18 budget, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/budget.