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Sugar Land Faces Budget ShortFall

By FBCStaff-With a mall generating a huge windfall every year admin officials felt like the good times would never end. In 2011 Sugar Land Council built a baseball stadium using sales tax revenue and passed a $99,000,000 Certificate of Obligation.
““The stadium will be funded with a portion of sales tax revenues that may only be used for economic development purposes through the Sugar Land 4B Corporation,” Special Projects Manager Mike Hobbs said. “No general fund tax dollars will be spent on the stadium. In addition, the approval of the Budget Amendment in the amount of $8 million is necessary to reflect additional funding and Opening Day Partners’ contribution to the project for other improvements.”

The city council voted unanimously to publish a notice of intent by the city to issue $99 million in certificates of obligation.”
http://www.guidrynews.com/story.aspx?id=1000033125

With sales going to online shops like Amazon, brick and mortar retail shops are not generating the taxes for cities as they did in the past. Not only has this type of short sighted vision caused budgeting problems but Sugar Land elected officials misled taxpayers telling them, “it will never cost you any tax dollars it will be paid for with sale tax revenue.” If that wasn’t egregious enough, they used almost $100 million in certificates of obligations instead of general obligation bonds which have to be approved by taxpayers. Taxpayers in Sugar Land were hit with 5 consecutive tax increases for water and sewer. You may also recall the city of Sugar Land tried to pass a large general obligation bond in 3 parts in 2013 and taxpayers voted against the park projects passing the other two.

Now that Sugar Land’s sales tax are short the taxpayer will have to make up the difference or Sugar Land will have to make cuts:

“Sugar Land officials will likely need to increase the city property tax rate in the coming fiscal year, otherwise they will need to cut costs, as expenses are projected to outpace property tax revenue, according to a presentation made at Thursday’s budget workshop.

Brown said the cost of doing business for the city increases roughly 3 percent every year on average. Meanwhile, sales tax revenue fell short of the fiscal 2017 projected amount by $864,000, contributing to the shortfall, she said.”
https://communityimpact.com/houston/sugar-land-missouri-city/city-county/2017/08/10/264730/

That bring up the question, “should elected officials be able to obligate the taxpayers to hundreds of millions in debt without a bond election? Recently, Mayor Turner of Houston wanted the capability to obligate the taxpayer to a billion dollars of debt for pension funds without taxpayer approval.  Both Sugar Land and Houston have term limits so elected officials are long gone from office when the debt comes due.

That is the issue in Austin, city officials have joined with Speaker Straus and the democrats on the side for unlimited spending without taxpayer approval. Guv Abbott and Lt Guv Patrick want to cap how much elected officials can spend without taxpayer approval.

Sugar Land has led the way in the area with entitlements but they come with a price, debt and higher taxes.

Are you listening Missouri City Elected Officials?  We don’t want debt like Sugar Land and Houston.

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