City Manager Allen Bogard presented a $282.6 million proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 to City Council on July 20. Sugar Land’s fiscal year 2011 begins Oct. 1, 2010, and ends Sept. 30, 2011.
The budget is based on a proposed tax rate of 30 cents which includes a reallocation of a half-cent from debt service to the maintenance and operations component of the tax rate. The proposed tax rate is anticipated to be less than the effective tax rate, which is the amount needed to generate the same revenues as last year on properties taxed in both years. Based on preliminary values, the average homeowner will see about a $3 decrease in their tax bill compared to last year.
圖說:糖城市府經理Allen Bogard(左四)說明九月開始之2011年度預算,預算及研究主任Jennifer Brown(左三)接著說明未來五年預報綱要(圖片由AL攝影)
Bogard said: “Preparation of this budget has proven to be atypical for us and has created many challenges. For the first time since I have been here, I am proposing a reduced budget from the previous year, as FY 2010 found Sugar Land mirroring the downturn seen in the national economy. Although our budget and the economy are down, I pledge to you continued strength in the City of Sugar Land’s financial condition.”
The proposed operating budget for FY11 totals $94.4 million and is decreasing .6 percent from the FY10 adopted operating budget. The majority of this reduction is due to a 2.7 percent decline in city services costs. Despite the overall reduction, the budget includes several new and/or expanded services:
A new recreation center is set to open in early 2011. The project is funded from voter approved general obligation bonds and will be partially supported from user fees.
Fire Station #7 will be under construction soon in Telfair and open in the summer of 2011. Under the Strategic Partnership Agreement with New Territory, their residents will pay an increased fire protection fee once the station opens. The fire department is committed to opening the station within existing resources and staffing. A study is underway that will make recommendations as to the best way to accomplish this.
A City-operated Convention & Visitors Bureau is proposed to be funded from hotel occupancy taxes. These revenues are restricted and must be spent to promote tourism within the City.
The fiscal year 2011 budget includes a number of actions to adjust the City’s spending to the anticipated lower revenues from property taxes and sales taxes. Departmental spending has been reduced, and although the budget proposes an elimination of 20 positions, there are no planned layoffs and the reduction in positions will be achieved through attrition, use of technology, reassignment and redistribution of work among existing staff members. No merit increases are included in the budget, and employee health benefits have been capped at a 6.5 percent increase based on the City’s contract with Cigna.
Sales tax revenues are estimated with no growth in FY11 based on current revenue levels. The City expects current economic conditions to continue throughout FY11. The proposed recommendations in the budget allow the City to maintain existing service levels, resulting in a budget that adjusts spending to meet reduced income (structurally balanced) in FY12 and beyond.
The total proposed budget for FY11 is $282.6 million and represents a 28.2 percent increase from the FY10 adopted budget. There are two major capital projects proposed in FY11 that result in the significant increase: the surface water treatment plant and transmission lines, which is a mandated project, and a minor league baseball stadium and parking, which should spur economic growth and establish Sugar Land as a destination for entertainment.
The budget will be discussed in more detail with City Council during a series of budget workshops in August. The meetings are open to the public.
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