City discussing goals for new fiscal year

In News by Reporter News

A new public art project with a pear theme, more public safety personnel and traffic signal timing highlight upcoming budget discussions for the City of Pearland.

With the city’s budget year beginning Oct. 1, city leaders are taking recent feedback as well as long-term planning documents into account when planning the upcoming year’s budget.

A pear-themed art project would use local artists and be funded through hotel-motel tax revenue, City Manager Clay Pearson said during a discussion before City Council last Monday. Funding recommendations for next year also include 12 full-time equivalent fire department positions, four additional police officers and traffic signal improvements that would ease congestion.

“Mobility is a big issue that came up in our citizen survey and obviously where we are looking to make improvements,” Pearson said. “We’ve got a lot of capital improvements, but frankly we could use some more expertise (with) mixing the science and the art of traffic signal timing so we can adjust if not on a real-time basis then in getting parameters so those lights are set up to accommodate as much traffic as possible.”

City staff begin working on the budget at the beginning of the calendar year, taking into account a recent citizen survey, master plans and studies and the city’s capital improvement plan.

“It’s not just new construction, new roads we’ll be opening – we’ll open the Pearland Parkway extension from Oiler Drive down to Dixie Farm in a couple of weeks here – but we’re also very intent on recapitalization,” Pearson said of the city’s capital improvement plan projects.

Recommendations include dedicating an additional $1.1 to sidewalk and street maintenance.

“This isn’t getting to the $4 million we would like to see eventually plus or minus, ideally, but at least we’re getting halfway there,” Pearson said. “It’s not going to go away unless we start to put some real money toward our maintenance.”

Another $630,000 is proposed for park maintenance.

“We are building very nice major capital improvements at both Shadow Creek Ranch and Hickory Slough Sportsplex. It takes money to keep those up and to maintain them and make sure what we built stays nice,” Pearson said.

Financially, a bumper crop of building permits in 2015 spell good news for the city, though perhaps not immediately. Single-family building permits through the first seven months of the calendar year 2015 have surpassed any previous year, Pearson said.

“That’s the good news for us as a city,” he said. “It also means from a property tax standpoint, not all those properties come on the tax valuation roll until 6 months or a year later, so we’re carrying that for the first bit and that’s just part of business.”

Commercial developments coming to Pearland include Costco’s 160,000 square-foot facility, Keystone Engineering’s $6 million investment along with Shale-Inland’s $14 million facility, Tool-Flo Manufacturing’s 80,000 square feet and MHI’s 180,000 square-foot warehouse.

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