Council set to meet Feb. 2

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The possibility of putting a city sales tax increase before voters is among likely topics of discussion for city leaders Feb. 2.

Friendswood City Council usually meets on the first Monday of the month beginning at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 910 S. Friendswood Dr.

The council’s previous meetings have included workshops on raising the sales tax. According to those discussions, the assembly of a citizens group to research the matter and make recommendations may be the next step.

Councilmen supporting a citizen’s committee have pointed to the success of its four voter-approved bond packages in 2013 – initially researched and recommended as separate items by a citizen volunteer group.

Friendswood taxes at a rate of 1.5 percent, leaving a half cent on the table that could, some have warned, be snatched up by the county.

State law allows for a variety of uses for a sales tax increase, including economic development, infrastructure improvements or crime control — or a combination.

One phase of the process is voter education.

“The city can give information, but that’s far as we can go. We can’t go out and sell the election, so to speak,” City Manager Roger Roecker pointed out.

“From a financial standpoint, it will free up a chunk of change on the budget,” Mayor Kevin Holland said, regarding using the funds for road improvements.

Councilman Billy Enochs in August of 2013 recommended a motion to put the sales tax increase on the ballot, but the measure was voted down.

The upcoming Feb. 2 meeting is set to include several joint public hearings with the Planning and Zoning Commission at 7 p.m., including one focusing on a zone change for the 135-acre site known as the Whitcomb property, located off FM 528.

The meeting agenda is scheduled to be posted 72 hours before the meeting at the city’s website, www.ci.friendswood.tx.us.

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