Missouri City Councilmembers approved the $151 million Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund budget presented by City Manager Odis Jones at their Monday, Sept. 21 Virtual Regular Meeting. The budget made way for the City to lower its effective tax rate for the first time since 2013 to $0.598035 and priorities include focus on economic development, infrastructure enhancements and public safety improvements.
“Our staff invested a lot of time working to determine tax rates that benefit the community overall,” said City Manager Jones. “We are dedicated to advancing the future of our City, and providing the necessary resources to achieve these accomplishments is a necessary first step to taking our City to the next level now, and for future generations.”
Strategic budget highlights approved in the first and final reading include:
- Public Safety:
- Public Health Emergency Compensation for first responders;
- Funding for Fire Station 6 that will expand City Fire services;
- Public safety apparatus upgrades, specifically the radio room and other necessary infrastructure.
- Economic Development:
- Investments in the Texas Parkway and Cartwright Road corridors;
- Small business grant program for development and to assist with COVID-19 recovery.
- Completion of funding for the citywide sidewalk program in one year, well ahead of the five-year schedule initially anticipated;
- Implementation of Lean Six Sigma processes to increase organizational efficiencies, streamline operations and decrease cost;
- Improved traffic and transportation safety via road and traffic signal repairs.
- Investment in Smart Cities initiatives to advance technology systems and capabilities;
- Deployment of new technologies to bolster employee morale and productivity and elevate customer service.
The small business grant program will provide relief to local businesses grappling with the economic impact of the pandemic. Several business owners expressed overwhelming support for the budget during the public comments section of the City Council agenda, citing the grant program as an immediate necessity.
Bobby English of Optimum Personal Care submitted a public comment form to Council and expressed, “Optimum Personal Care is a 25 year business in Missouri City, Texas. We are a licensed facility to take care of the elderly. Recently, I have lost 25 percent of my business due to COVID-19. I employ over 35 caregivers who live in and near Missouri City. I have managed to not lay anyone off. However, each month this is becoming more and more of a challenge. Rental assistance and/or a capital loan will help me survive my business and keep my employees.”
Darryl Austin, owner of Sugar’s Cajun Cuisine also shared feedback with Council. He said, “My business has been ravaged by the pandemic, I’m just barely holding on and this assistance would be a lifeblood. Small businesses fuel this economy from employees to the taxes to the money that is recirculated in the economy of Missouri City.”
In addition to supporting existing businesses, the Texas Parkway and Cartwright Road Corridor will be a focus of development/redevelopment efforts to foster business opportunities and economic growth. After two decades of decline and added business pressures resulting from the impact of COVID-19, the approved budget provides a comprehensive development approach to revitalize the area by enhancing existing businesses and providing resources and incentives to attract new ones. Investment efforts will include commercial real estate development, a small business loan program and a supplier diversity initiative to provide opportunities for minority and women owned businesses.
For more updates on the FY2021 budget discussion and the 2020 Tax Rate, visit the City Website.
For more information about Missouri City, 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 U-verse) or download the MCTX Mobile app (available for free in Google Play and the Apple app store).