Plan & Budget
2021-2025 Service & Improvement Plan

2021-2025 Service & Improvement Plan and Assessment Plan

In the new 2021-2025 Plan, services and capital improvements are proposed that continue the substantial revitalization presently under way while addressing new needs as downtown recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. Since inception, the District has focused on improving downtown’s quality of life.

Since inception, the District has focused on improving downtown’s quality of life. This focus remains a cornerstone of the 2021-2025 Plan. The total expense of services and improvements increases relative to the 2015-2020 Plan; and given economic uncertainties, the maximum overall assessment rate will increase to $0.150; although the District Board will set the rate each year which likely will be lower. The capital improvements assessment rate will decrease over the previous Plan rate to a maximum of $.010/$100 of assessed value, and operating assessment will increase with a maximum of $.140/$100. Debt is not anticipated as improvements can be made on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Annual operations and capital budgets and plans are developed and approved by the Board. The mission of the plan is to sustain and manage downtown while continuing redevelopment to make it a diverse, accessible and perpetually active core of the Houston region both in perception and reality.

Vision, Mission & Goals

Vision of the Plan
Downtown is at the forefront in advancing Houston as a great global city.

Mission of the Plan
Collaboratively plan, manage, maintain and develop Downtown to make it a productive, thriving, inviting, safe, accessible, walkable, livable, interesting and always active urban place.

Plan Goals:

Goal 1: At all times Downtown feels comfortable and safe
• Expand collaboration to maintain low crime rate and make Downtown feel safe
• Reduce presence in the public realm of the homeless and street person population
• Downtown’s sidewalks are comfortably lighted
• Increase the standard of care for Downtown’s cleanliness and well-kept appearance
• Conditions of blighted properties are addressed
• Prepare for and respond to emergencies

Goal 2: Public realm is beautiful and celebrates the life of the city
• Make key pedestrian areas inviting
• Managed, programmed and delightful public spaces
• Place of civic celebration
• Putting best foot forward for major national and international events

Goal 3: Accessible to the entire region all of the time and easy to get around
• Effective transit access from more places, more hours of the day
• Convenient, multiple means of circulation without personal vehicle
• Easy to find way around
• Connected, walkable neighborhoods and districts inside and outside of Downtown
• Convenient, understandable and managed parking

Goal 4: Vibrant, sustainable mixed-use place
• Best place to work in region
• Engaging neighborhoods to live in
• Competitive shopping place
• A remarkable destination for visitors

Goal 5: Downtown’s vision, plans and offerings are understood by all
• Market downtown to region
• Promote the ease of using downtown’s offerings
• Vision and development plans for future engage all
• Tools to assist continued redevelopment
• Information source to support continued development, investment and marketing of Downtown

Goal 6: District governance and service known for excellence
• Board and administration: engage stakeholders in decisions regarding Downtown
• Communicate to owners, tenants and others about the District
• Preservation of assets: maintain appropriate capital replacement reserves

Budgeting

The fiscal year for the Downtown District begins on January 1 and ends on December 31. Assessments made by the Tax Assessor/Collector in the fourth quarter will apply to the fiscal/Service & Improvement Plan year beginning January 1 following.

Prior to December 31 each year, the Downtown District Board reviews and approves the operating and capital improvements budgets for the following year.

Assessment rates for operations and capital improvements are set in the fourth quarter prior to the first year of a new 5-year service plan and prior to each succeeding year of a service plan if changes to the initial rates are to be made. Setting of the rates or of any changes must be approved by the Downtown District Board.

Budget preparation will involve the following before the Downtown District Board adopts the Operating and Capital budgets:

  1. Review of needs and priorities within the District
  2. Review of draft budget by board committees
  3. Review of draft budget by Downtown District Board
  4. Receipt of property owner input through Town Hall Meeting, survey or other format

Each year an annual audit of Downtown District funds for the prior year will be completed by an independent accounting firm and accepted by the Board of Directors.

2021 Operating and Capital Budget Summaries