MISSOURI CITY (Covering Fort Bend News) - Missouri City councilmembers have unanimously approved a 2019 property tax rate of $.630000, the Fiscal Year 2020 General Fund Budget and the sale of $14 million in general obligation and refunding bonds.
The overall adopted tax rate of $.63 per $100 of assessed valuation is an effective tax rate increase of 4.319 percent over last year’s rate.
The tax rate will raise more taxes for maintenance and operations (M&O) than last year’s rate. The M&O tax rate will effectively be raised by 5.76 percent and will raise taxes for maintenance and operations on a $100,000 home by approximately $6.39.
At the Monday, Oct. 7 Regular City Council Meeting, the city’s Financial Services Director and Chief Financial Officer Allena J. Portis explained to Council that “the tax rate is just below the roll-back rate of .639873 and is made up of two components; the maintenance and operations, and debt service rates. The maintenance and operation rate is [.466387] and the debt service [rate] is [.163613].” Portis added: “This rate is higher than the effective tax rate but lower than the roll back rate and requires that two public hearings be held. Those hearings were held in September on the [sixteenth] and the twenty-third.”
The breakdown of the calculation is as follows:
- Maintenance & Operations (M&O): $.466387
- Debt Service (I&S): $.163613
- Total Rate: $.630000
Revenues generated from the 2019 property tax rate, sales taxes, franchise fees, charges for services and bond proceeds will fund the Fiscal Year 2020 General Fund Budget of $54.59 million which was approved by City Council at the Monday, Sept. 16 Regular Meeting. The FY2020 budget cycle began Oct. 1, 2019 and runs through Sept. 30, 2020; and the financial plan for this fiscal year is $2.63 million (5 percent) more than the FY2019 Revised Budget of $51.96 million.
“Fiscal stewardship of taxpayer dollars is an ongoing priority and in addition to providing critical funding for operations, this budget will continue to construct several noteworthy capital projects that are reflected in both the prior and current Capital Improvement Program budgets,” said City Manager Anthony J. Snipes. “The total budget, including CIP, for Fiscal Year 2020, net of transfers, is $138.07 million and the blueprint provides funding and programming of City Council Priority Projects; adds one Utilities Clerk to the Public Works Department; adds one Administrative Assistant to the Parks Department; and adds one Desktop Specialist III to the Innovation & Technology Department in response to recommendations made in the employee survey.”
Snipes added that the FY2020 budget also “continues excellent service to residents with continued focused efforts on public safety and economic development and it maintains a healthy fund balance in compliance with the city’s adopted fund balance policy.”
Moody’s Reaffirms City’s Aa2 Rating for $14M Bond Issuance
To provide funding for a diversity of future projects, City Council authorized the issuance and sale of $14 million in general obligation and refunding bonds.
“The projects are included in the fiscal year 2020 budget and were approved in the capital improvement program,” Portis said. “They include drainage improvements, expansion of the public safety facility and reconstruction of the park maintenance facility, mobility and transportation projects, the renovation of fire station number one and the design and construction of fire station number six.”
City Council’s approval of the bond sales comes after City Manager Snipes and staff worked closely with Moody’s Investors Service in recent weeks regarding the determination of the city’s bond rating for the upcoming issuance of General Obligation and Refunding Bonds. On Tuesday, Oct. 8, Snipes notified the elected body that “Moody’s reaffirmed our current rating, assigning an Aa2 rating to the City’s $10.9 million General Obligation and Refunding Bonds, Series 2019.”
Moody’s announced the rating in a news brief the Service issued on Tuesday, stating:
“The Aa2 issuer rating reflects the city’s sizeable and growing tax base with above average resident income levels, benefiting from its proximity to Houston and healthy reserve levels maintained by solid financial performance and policies. The rating further incorporates the City’s above average but manageable debt and fixed cost burdens.”