By George Slaughter
Continuing flood mitigation efforts, public safety, and economic development were among the highlights described by Mayor Chuck Brawner and Public Relations Director Kayce Reina Wednesday afternoon at the Katy Business Association meeting at Midway Barbeque, 6025 Highway Blvd.
Brawner said the city has worked with U.S. Rep Mike McCaul, R-Austin, to secure funding to build the Cypress Watershed north of Katy, following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The federal government was to have built the watershed in the 1940s, but it wasn’t done in part due to World War II. McCaul’s district includes much of Katy.
Public safety comprises 53% of the city’s budget. Not all of focuses on flood mitigation, however. Brawner described Fire Station #2, which opened earlier this month at 25420 Bell Patna Dr., and Fire Station No. 3, at 2944 FM 1463, which opened last June.
Reina said that 51% of Katy’s tax revenues come from sales taxes. Thanks to the new Amazon distribution center, Buc-ee’s, and the forthcoming Costco distribution center and American Furniture Warehouse, the city expects more sales tax revenues. The additional sales tax revenues, in turn, enable the city to keep property taxes consistent, or to lower them, as has been in the case in recent years.
Reina said the Katy City Council has been proactive in annexing land between Highway 90 and Interstate 10 for commercial use.
The Katy Mills Mall renovations, begun last year, are also on track.
“It looks dramatically different,” Reina said, adding that the mall has undergone a massive interior renovation. “It’s looking really great and we’re getting ready to start on the exterior renovation.”
Downtown Katy is also undergoing change. The city in January broke ground for the renovation of the Katy Square across the street from City Hall. When completed, the square will have open space, public restrooms, a stage, and a new visitors center.
The old council chamber will remain and be converted into a new civic center, Reina said.
The iconic water tower on the square will remain, but will serve only decorative and historical purposes. A small, fenced-in public area will feature historical photos and plaques.
“People want to be here,” Reina said. “They want to be in Katy because not only is it a great place being so close to Houston and being on I-10, but also the excellent community we have to offer.”