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Fort Bend County Scope November 2010


Minor League Baseball Is Coming To Sugar Land

Formal Agreements Inked with ODP, Johnson Development for Baseball Stadium

Sugar Land City Council approved on Oct. 5 formal agreements with Opening Day Partners (ODP) and Johnson Development for the construction and operation of a professional minor league baseball stadium northeast of State Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 90A.

Studies have confirmed that a proposed minor league baseball stadium northeast of State Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 90A will not negatively impact existing neighborhoods. The final results of “Quality of Life” impacts — noise, lighting, traffic and public safety — from the proposed stadium were presented to City Council in September.

Public feedback gained through numerous venues on “Quality of Life” impacts was presented to City Council prior to selection of the final location.

The approved development agreement with ODP defines:

●project specifications, timelines and processes for the construction of a stadium (including completion of the stadium by April 1, 2012);

●locations for stadium improvements, including parking;

●financial responsibilities; and

●ODP ownership of an independent minor league baseball team in the Atlantic League Professional Baseball Association.

The stadium lease agreement with ODP includes the following terms:

●A 25-year net lease includes ODP’s first right to negotiate renewal terms of lease.

●ODP will operate the stadium and offsite parking for all events.

●Permitted stadium uses will include baseball games, conventions, concerts, movies, meetings, festivals and fundraising galas.

●ODP will retain all revenues from stadium activities.

●The city will receive annual rent payments of $80,000 plus an additional participation rent.

●ODP will be responsible for stadium repairs and maintenance.

An agreement with Johnson Development conveys approximately 21 acres of land for the construction of a stadium and off-site parking. The city also agreed to purchase an additional five acres of land from Johnson Development for on-site parking. The developer will build necessary water/wastewater infrastructure to serve the stadium site.

“We are excited at the great deal of enthusiasm and interest that minor league baseball continues to receive in Sugar Land,” said Mayor James Thompson. “A city’s work is never finished. It must keep redefining itself — this is our time. With this stadium and baseball project, we’ve done something that will continue to impact future generations. I look forward to seeing the first pitch thrown during the 2012 baseball season.”

The $30 million stadium will be funded with a portion of sales tax revenues that may only be used for economic development purposes. No general fund tax dollars will be spent on the stadium. In addition to the stadium serving as a community amenity, a conservative cost-benefit analysis performed by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International shows the project will provide an annual benefit to the community of conservatively $7.7 million, or a return of $169 million over 30 years, according to city officials.

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Sugar Land Launches Facebook

Follow Sugar Land on Facebook —www.facebook.com/sugarland.tx — and learn about important minor league baseball updates, city events and Sugar Land’s new recreation center and more.

Sugar Land’s Facebook site follows the successful launch of Twitter, the city’s first step into the virtual world of social media.

“Social networking sites are a great way for the city to keep citizens and visitors informed about topics ranging from road closures to emergency notifications,” said City Manager Allen Bogard. “Our goal is to take advantage of communication tools already being used by a large group of people and provide timely, relevant and accurate information.”

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Property Tax Rate Stays Flat in Missouri City

Continuing Missouri City’s commitment to maintaining and protecting its strong fiscal position, council members voted to maintain the existing property tax of 52.84 cents per $100 of valuation for Fiscal Year 2011. The adopted rate is less than the current “effective tax rate” of 55.11 cents per $100 of valuation and is expected to yield about $450,000 less in revenues than staff projected. The gap will be filled by managing the city’s personnel vacancy lapse and minimizing discretionary spending.

Overall, Missouri City’s 2011 operating budget of $31.2 million represents a 6.1 percent decrease ($2.02 million) in spending from the 2010 spending plan; $1.25 million of this decrease was realized by not funding 16 positions that are currently vacant. The total certified property value, including tax increment reinvestment zone values, for Fiscal Year 2011 is $4,356,398,935, down from $4,449,415,236 last year. The adopted property tax rate will allocate 34.7 cents for maintenance and operations and 18.1 cents for capital projects. To view the current budget, go to www.missouricitytx.gov.

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Attending the Fort Bend Chamber’s State of the Schools are: (l-r) Jim Rice, Dr. Thomas Randle, Bridget Yeung, Dr. Timothy Jenney and H.D. Chambers.

Top Marks for State of the Schools in Fort Bend County

“Our behaviors define us,” said H.D. Chambers, superintendent of Stafford Municipal School District. This timeless principle was demonstrated at the  annual “State of the Schools” luncheon.  Under the leadership of the Fort Bend Chamber’s Education Division chairman Jim Rice, superintendents from Fort Bend ISD, Lamar Consolidated and Stafford MSD gave progress reports to a sold-out crowd.

Leading the discussion was Dr. Timothy Jenney, superintendent, Fort Bend ISD, who gave an overview of the new Texas state testing requirements.  He affirmed that his district has made great strides in closing the achievement gap. Jenney concluded by testing the audience with five TAKS test questions.

Chambers announced that Stafford MSD is a Recognized District.  Additionally, the district will be lowering the total tax rate by 10 percent. He then spoke about the drop-out rates affecting all districts, noting that Fort Bend County’s drop-out rates are significantly lower than all of Texas. Chambers provided a list of the community outreach programs all districts are involved in to decrease the drop-out rate even further.

Dr. Thomas Randle, superintendent, Lamar CSD, announced that Lamar CSD is a Recognized District. He said, “Whether it is our smallest student or our biggest athlete, we produce some of the finest students in the state.” Randle then discussed school finance and the impact of the HB 3646 that resulted from the 81st Legislative session.

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Missouri City Smoking Ban Takes Effect

On Friday, Oct. 1, Missouri City’s no-smoking ordinance officially went into effect. The measure, which council approved at its July 6 meeting, prohibits lighting up in most public places. Restricted areas in the regulation include: most enclosed public places, including restaurants, libraries, elevators, polling places, pool and billiard halls, bingo facilities and educational facilities; areas within 20 feet of the playing surface or competition area during a youth sporting event at a city park; outdoor areas within 25 feet of entrances to public places; and workplaces.

Smoking is allowed in the following places: outdoor seating areas of restaurants 25 feet or more from nonsmoking areas; private residences except those used as an adult daycare or child care home; private and semi-private rooms in nursing homes; retail tobacco stores and tobacco bars; certain stage performances when smoking is part of an act.

Violations are punishable by a fine of up to $500. Owners, operators and managers of public places and workplaces will be responsible for posting “No Smoking” signs announcing the ban and removing ashtrays from areas where smoking is restricted.

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Attending the Fort Bend Chamber’s State of the Schools are: (l-r) Jim Rice, Dr. Thomas Randle, Bridget Yeung, Dr. Timothy Jenney and H.D. Chambers.

“Show Me City” Earns Scenic Certification

Scenic Texas has recognized Missouri City’s commitment to high-quality development requirements for public spaces such as roadways, parks and open expanses, with one of its 14 inaugural certificates. The Scenic City Certification Program recognizes Texas cities that excel in fostering a sense of pride in their communities by utilizing strict ordinances and regulations. These initiatives result in increased economic development and property values. Cities earning certification are classified gold, silver, bronze and recognized. Missouri City achieved a bronze designation.

“What stood out about Missouri City’s application was the emphasis on key areas such as streetscapes, parks, trails and public spaces. Additionally, the city was the most diverse among the top award winners,” said Anne Culver, executive director of Scenic Houston, which spearheaded the certification as part of Scenic Texas. “The 14 cities had to meet three basic criteria including a ban on billboards, a requirement for permits for on-premise signs and an ordinance governing landscaping.”

Missouri City received strong scores for its dedication to improving residents’ quality of life through the visual appeal of streetscapes, a wide variety of amenities in city parks and strict regulations governing signs. The program also recognized the city’s recent focus on revitalization plans for the Texas Parkway/Cartwright Road Corridors and its emphasis on the removal of litter and graffiti in all communities.

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Sugar Land Cable TV Notices are Free of Charge

A recent redesign of Sugar Land’s cable television channel, SLtv 16, now includes a bulletin board with new content such as local real-time weather and national news feeds on topics ranging from headline news to regional traffic updates and history trivia. Eligible groups may now post announcements free on the city’s TV station.

City Council recently eliminated the $25 administrative fee for meetings and event notices on Sugar Land’s newly redesigned community bulletin board.

Slides announcing meetings and events comprise the bulletin board, which is broadcast two hours daily on the city’s cable television channel.  Organizations eligible to post content include nonprofit groups benefiting the city and government agencies, homeowners’ associations and property associations within Sugar Land’s corporate limits.

SLtv 16 is intended to make governance more accessible to citizens by educating Sugar Land residents on city services, policies and programs; improving accessibility of City Council deliberations by providing broadcast of meetings; informing residents about events, meetings and city job listings; provide, in a timely manner, crucial information to citizens before, during and after emergencies; inform residents about meeting and event notices of government and property association groups in Sugar Land; and inform residents about meeting and event notices of nonprofit organizations that benefit Sugar Land.

Programming includes live government meetings (which are re-broadcast daily at 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.); city and community bulletin boards; informational videos; and a bi-monthly newscast that focuses on the latest city events, programs and activities.

For more information, call 281-275-2328 or e-mail pubinfo­@sugarlandtx.gov.


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