Missouri City voters will consider a $ 85.85 million bond package in the November election

When Missouri City voters go to the polls for the November 2nd election, they will have a chance to vote for or against a $ 85.85 million bond, the largest in city history.

Divided into three proposals, the loan proceeds would go towards infrastructure improvements for roads and mobility, facilities, and parks and recreation, Missouri City officials said.

The bond package was recommended to the city council in July by the Missouri City Bond Exploratory Committee, a group of Missouri City residents who were reviewing the need for a bond and the projects it contained.

More than half of the bond – $ 51.615 million – is for roads, roads, and mobility projects, including rebuilding more than 80 city streets.

“You will see that the streets [most expensive] because there are so many miles of roads in a church; It is an expensive undertaking to maintain, ”said interim city manager Bill Atkinson.

City building and park modernizations make up the other two bond proposals, which amount to $ 11.22 million and $ 23.015 million, respectively.

If each proposal is accepted, city staff estimate that Missouri City residents of Fort Bend County will see an average increase in their annual property tax bill of $ 78 and an average increase of $ 51 for Harris County residents.

Atkinson said bonds support multi-generation development, spreading the cost of the projects over time so that those who benefit from the updates share the cost.

“Missouri City has aging communities, especially the northern part of Missouri City,” said former councilor Don Smith. “Infrastructure is eroding and it would be a major undertaking to ever catch up with the erosion of streets and sidewalks, so part of the referendum on bonds is extremely important.”

Aging infrastructure

Some areas of Missouri City are more than 50 years old, meaning the streets in those neighborhoods have exceeded the typical 30-year life span of concrete, Atkinson said.

“This city is over 50 years old. The roads and infrastructure that were built back then were supposed to last 30 years – they have outlasted their ages, “said Shashi Kumar, director of public works, at a bond briefing in July. “It’s time to rebuild that.”

Proposal A, dedicated to road and mobility improvements, totals $ 51.615 million and provides $ 38 million to fully rebuild more than 80 streets in the city, including Court Road, Scanlin Road and the Lake Olympia Parkway.

Kumar said roads would be prioritized for reconstruction after a citywide pavement assessment. The number of streets in Missouri City to be replaced exceeds the bond – Kumar estimates the city has $ 108 million in streets to be fully reconstructed.

“It’s a data-driven approach,” he said. “We will repair the roads that are in the worst condition.”

The remaining $ 13.615 million would be used to upgrade traffic lights, landscaping along key corridors and implementing a smart city initiative.

The $ 11.22 million Proposition B also aims to update the aging building infrastructure, Atkinson said. It would fund projects that bring the city’s older buildings up to date and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other updates.

“Prop B is for accessibility [and] to ensure that life safety issues are covered not only for our guests but also for our employees and other visitors, ”said Atkinson.

Park improvements

Proposal C, valued at $ 23.015 million, would put money in four of Missouri City’s 20 parks: Bicentennial Park, Freedom Tree Park, Ridgeview Park, and Sta-Mo Sports Complex. It would also add or improve trails in five parks.

Parks and Recreation Director Jason Mangum said his department is seeing the age of park infrastructure.

“Just like the streets, many of these parks are decades old – up to 40 [and] 50 years old – and in urgent need of improvement, ”said Mangum during the July meeting.

The largest project Proposition C could fund is the redesign of the Sta-Mo Sports Complex at the intersection of Court Road and Moore Road.

The $ 15 million project – $ 10 million of which would be funded by the loan with the remaining $ 5 million from Fort Bend County – would convert the existing baseball and softball fields to accommodate other outdoor sports can be used. The project would also improve the drainage system and structures of the parks, adding pickleball courts, basketball courts and playgrounds.

“This would turn this park from a real eyesore and a problematic part of our community to something we could really be proud of,” said Mangum.

The proposal also includes $ 3.5 million in expansion for Freedom Tree Park. According to city reports, the loan funding would add pavilions, playgrounds and a maze to five acres of land next to the Liberty Tree. In addition, an educational trail explaining the history of the tree would connect the Community Park to the Freedom Tree Park.

Smith, chairman of the Juneteenth Celebration Foundation in Missouri City, said slaves at Palmer Plantation received news of the proclamation of emancipation under the tree of freedom.

“The Freedom Tree is one of the crown jewels of Missouri City,” said Smith. “[This design] provides another place for families in this area to gather together. … It’s a very nice design. “

Renovations to the cart paths and drainage systems at La Quinta Golf Course in downtown Quail Valley would also be funded by the park and recreation facilities.

Councilor Vashaundra Edwards was the only vote to vote against calling the bond elections at a meeting on August 16. She said she declined to spend $ 800,000 on Proposition C to replace pavilions, a toilet, path, and playground in Ridgeview Park after the city council decided on Aug. 2 to pay $ 66,000 for the Park to install a spray protection system. The remaining costs of the Splashpad are covered by external donations.

“I think it’s very appalling that we’re going to be spending so much money on a particular park,” said Edwards. “[We] have other parks that need to be treated, rehabilitated or repaired. “

Financial implications

If the bond goes all the way, the maximum debt service or interest rate and declining tax rate needed to support the bond would be $ 0.1757. Financial services director Allena Portis said this represents a $ 0.04089 increase over the I&S tax rate adopted on September 20 for fiscal year 2021-22.

The I&S rate is one of two parts of the city’s total property tax rate; the other is the maintenance and operating rate. However, the M&O rate is decided by the city council each year and can fluctuate depending on the city’s property value and budget needs, Portis said. Over the past five years, the M&O rate has increased 0.68%, from $ 0.44023 to $ 0.46639 per $ 100 valuation.

If approved, the bonds on the bond would be issued in FY 2022-23, Atkinson said. This means that residents can expect some funded bond projects to start as early as the end of 2022 and stretch over three to five years.

Of the four most recent Missouri City bonds, all 15 proposals were accepted. The city’s most expensive bond to date was a $ 75 million package in 2003.

“Bonds are means that cities can use to raise funds for large capital projects,” Atkinson said. “Capital is very expensive”

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