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Correction: A previous version of this release mentioned the Police Training Facility as part of $17.5 million in project facilities improvements. Although the Police Training Facility was among the original funding requests reviewed by the Bond Exploratory Committee, it was not included as part of the BEC’s final recommendations. We apologize for the error. See BEC’s final recommendations below:
After nearly three months of meetings, the Missouri City Bond Exploratory Committee is recommending the City Council approve an $86 million bond referendum for the November ballot to finance upgrades to City parks and infrastructure. The 24-member committee presented its final report and recommendations to the Council at the July 28th In-Person Special Meeting, held at the Community Center.
The report was delivered by Chairman Everett Land, Vice Chair Vickie McBride and Vice Chair Jonathan Winfiele. They said the bond is necessary to maintain the quality of life that Missouri City affords.
“Folks moved here for that reason,” said Chairman Land. “The streets were in good shape, and the parks were in good shape. These amenities have been neglected for a long time. Streets are in disrepair. Before things deteriorate further, we need to fix them to accommodate the growth of folks moving into Missouri City.”
The committee considered three levels of future debt capacity – low, medium and high. At a tax rate of 17 cents per $100 of assessed property value (low), the City would yield $55.36 million in funding; 18 cents (medium) would garner $68.31 million; and at 19.56 cents (high), the City would collect $86.36 million.
The panel said it proposed the highest of the three tiers to ensure there are enough funds to make all the necessary upgrades. The City also will receive $15 million in assistance from Fort Bend County, effectively lowering to $71.36 million the City’s cost of the upgrades.
“The reason we wanted to do the 19-cent rate is because the cost of (borrowing) money is actually down now, and in the future, it will be going up,” said Vice Chair McBride. “If we have this opportunity now, we should do it, because (these repairs) will be more costly in future years.”
If passed by voters, the bond package would result in an estimated $121 increase in annual property taxes for the average Fort Bend County homeowner. The average Harris County homeowner can expect an annual increase of $76.
The Bond Exploratory Committee was appointed by the City Council in the spring and began its work on May 13th. Preliminary discussions focused on communication, outreach and bond financing scenarios. MCTX staff provided the committee with a detailed analysis of the City’s transportation, parks and facilities projects. The group also held two open houses to secure community feedback.
“We wanted to make sure that all segments of the community were involved in this process,” said McBride. “We posted information on the City website, social media, put out promotional videos and distributed fliers door-to-door. We tried to make sure we were very deliberate in finding out what works in our community. QR codes were put on our surveys and there was neighborhood signage, so that people knew about the meetings.” The committee said HOA management and civic clubs and organizations were an invaluable help in getting the word out.
The committee determined which projects were most needed across all districts. “We looked at all the roads that need to be redone,” said Vice Chair Winfiele. “These roads have a typical lifespan of 30 years. Roadway infrastructure will be the biggest chunk of money.
The following park projects were identified, and their estimated cost:
The City also seeks to expand its Park Path Program, with the following trails slated for improvements:
Based on the master plan for the Sta-Mo complex, City Parks and Recreation Director Jason Mangum said the park “would be completely razed, in order to upgrade the infrastructure, and then rebuilt.”
Another chunk of bond monies – $11 million in total – would go toward proposed project facilities, such as the Golf Course Maintenance Facility, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance and Life Safety. Winfiele described the golf course facility as a key priority, saying, “It is dilapidated and unsafe for anyone to work there.”
Although the Police Training Facility was among the original funding requests reviewed by the Bond Exploratory Committee and was overwhelmingly supported by residents polled, it was not included as part of the BEC’s final recommendations.
“The police facility was seen as a ‘nice to have’ project,” said Winfiele. “When we took the $8 million out for the police facility, we applied it to other projects as additional contingency funds.“
“In the end,” said Land, “we decided to put more money on streets, due to the amount of streets that we knew needed repairs.”
Next steps are an August 16th City Council vote on whether to put the bond referendum on the ballot, as well as a September 16th Open House to present information to the public and answer questions. If approved by Council, the measure would appear on the Nov. 2nd ballot.
The committee stressed the need for voter education on the bond issue. “The more education we get out to the community, it’s very, very important,” said Winfiele. “Most voters – if they’re like me and they don’t understand it – I vote no, because I don’t want higher taxes. We really need to communicate within our communities.”
Land echoed those sentiments, calling the ballot question “all or nothing.” “It’s a yes or no,” he said. “If the residents vote this down, the streets are going to lose.”
To watch videos and review presentations by staff from the 2021 Proposed Bond Referendum Open Houses and to learn about the Bond Exploratory Committee, visit the City Website via this link: Click Here.
For more updates, please watch the City website: www.missouricitytx.gov, like us on Facebook—fb/MissouriCityTX, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat—@MissouriCityTX and Nextdoor, watch Missouri City Television (Ch. 16 on Comcast and Ch. 99 on AT&T) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).