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PEARLAND / City has `never looked better,' mayor says in annual address / Emphasis is on `quality,' Reid tells crowd at event organized by chamber

February 28, 2008

While Pearland is grappling with the challenges of being a fast-growing community, the city has "never looked better," Mayor Tom Reid said Feb. 21 in his annual "State of the City" address.

"Our city employees care about their jobs and are working hard every day to make Pearland a very special place to live and work," Reid told about 150 people at First United Methodist Church on Grand Avenue.

The event was organized by the Pearland Area Chamber of Commerce.

"Our city is developing as a community with an emphasis on quality development, quality service and quality of life," the mayor said.

Reid pointed out a number of barometers that illustrate the city's progress.

He said that assessed valuation has risen from $2.6 billion in 2003 to $5.4 billion in 2007.

"If we can keep that at a billion dollars a year (growth), that would be good," he said. "You want to bring in quality development. We still have some of the cheapest land in the area."

Reid said the city's tax rate has inched its way down since 2003, when it was 69.6 cents per $100 valuation. Last year, it was 65.3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Meanwhile, the city's total tax revenues has grown from $8.8 million in 2003 to $15.9 million in 2007, Reid said.

"We're at about $16 million this year," he said. "With the types of businesses we're bringing in, we will be able to increase on the sales tax (revenues), which lowers the property taxes."

Reid said Pearland has evolved into a "destination city" that is attracting top national retailers.

"Five years ago, Pearland retail was considered at best a suburban, local market lacking upscale shopping opportunities," he said. "Today, that scenario has dramatically changed."

Reid said Pearland is also in good shape with outstanding staff at City Hall and the Pearland Economic Development Corp. That level of professionalism, he said, extends to the city's police and fire departments.

"The city delivers essential services 24-7 and someone must always be minding the store," Reid said. "We are fortunate that our city staff always takes care of business."