Mayor Tammy Dana-Bashian presented the state of the city address during Tuesday night’s Rowlett City Council meeting that touched on growth, development and accomplishments of 2019.
“Our population in the state of Texas is growing by over 1,000 people a day, and our city is certainly experiencing phenomenal growth and development,” she said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rowlett was recently named the eighth fastest growing city in the United States.
Last year was busy for the city with major projects popping up, and over 20 percent of the city’s land remains undeveloped.
“Growth across North Texas represents significant opportunity, but it also means the need for increased resources, which becomes a strain on infrastructure, public safety and city services. We are meeting those challenges, and even with these increased demands on our budget. Our actual tax rate remained unchanged,” Dana-Bashian said. “We are able to meet increasing budget needs without raising the actual tax rate largely due to an increase in property valuations, as well as the 2015 and 2018 bond programs, approved by our residents.”
According to the presentation, as a result of these bond programs the city is investing over $32 million into neighborhood reconstruction that includes streets, alleys and drainage systems.
Additionally, the city is investing over $27 million to reconstruct and improve major thoroughfares and roadways, and to implement traffic management systems to improve flow of traffic.
To meet the needs of the fire department, construction is underway on a public safety training center and in design for a second fire station.
The upcoming fiscal year 2020 budget includes the addition of eight police officers and one dispatcher to address increasing response time on priority 1 calls.
Dana-Bashian also noted that the city was able to lower the water rate for the upcoming year.
“This was possible by utilizing a more measured approach to capital investment over time,” she said. “This has two benefits; first, it provides a direct benefit to today’s customers, resulting in a $5.50 reduction in the monthly water rate. Second, it allows future customers to help pay for the cost of the system over time.”
In fiscal year 2019 the city added over 35 new businesses, saw private investments of over $58 million in commercial projects and the creation of over 200 new jobs, Dana-Bashian said.
Since the adoption of Realize Rowlett 2020, the city has seen nearly $420 million in commercial private investment, with sales tax growth averaging 5 percent annually. Over 2,500 jobs have been created, and another $1 billion in planned development and private investment is underway.
One major accomplishment of the city was securing a new developer for Sapphire Bay.
Dana-Bashian said Texas has experienced rapid growth since the last census in 2010, and if communities are fully counted in the 2020 Census, Texas could gain up to three additional seats in Congress.
“It would also bring in funding for population-based federal programs that our communities need,” she said. “An undercount of Texas’ population by even 1 percent could result in a $300 million loss per year over the next decade in federal funding.”
The full state of the city address can be viewed on Youtube at RowlettTexasVideo.