City unveils proposed $6.35 million bond

Contributed/City of Marble Falls rendering
Marble Falls officials took steps Aug. 7 to notify the public of the planned issuance of $6.35 million in bond debt to fund, in part, the first phase of a large-scale parks improvement project.




By Connie Swinney
The Highlander

With an eye on utilizing various entities to pay off the debt, Marble Falls city officials moved closer Aug. 7 to issuing a proposed $6.35 million bond issue to fund a portion of the first phase of a multi-faceted parks improvement project as well as downtown area improvements and utility upgrades.

During the regular city council meeting, the Marble Falls City Council approved implementing the public notification requirement to announce the city's intent to issue certificates of obligation (bond debt).

The bond will fund the following:

$3.3 million Phase 1A Lakeside and Johnson Park improvement component which includes features such as a beach area and restrooom facilities to be paid back with a combination of city funding, economic development sales tax dollars, hotel/motel tax funds and tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) funds;

TIRZ funding is derived from a portion of existing taxes collected within a designated downtown district set aside for infrastructure upgrades and other improvements.

$395,000 for so-called PAYGO (i.e. cash-on-hand projects) and CAP (Capital) projects which would fund downtown upgrades including sidewalk construction and extension as well as handrail replacement and pavement enhancements; to be re-paid with TIRZ funds.

$2.6 million for Seimens Industry for replacement of the city's water meter system and LED lighting upgrades; to be re-paid with city utility funds and the city's interest and sinking (I&S) debt fund.

The estimated principal and interest repayment would total more than $8.5 million at a 3.75 percent interest rate over 20 years, according to city's financial advisor Mark McLiney of Samco Financial.

Council member Craig Magerkurth, who ultimately voted to continue the process, described taking on the debt as a “kick in the gut.”

Just as long as the citizens know what they're paying for,” he said.

Mayor John Packer and Councilman David Rhodes commented that a combination of entities sharing in the cost of repaying the debt would take some of the burden off property taxpayers.

One way to look at it is it's not all city (money),” Packer said. “We've got the EDC (economic development corporation), TIRZ, HOT (hotel/motel taxes).”

Following public notification and pending public hearing dates, city staff have scheduled a vote on issuance of the bonds on Sept. 18. The city is expected to receive the funding by Oct. 16.

In other business, the Council:

Approved a proposed tax rate of .6150 cents per $100 property tax valuation which is a little more than 2 cents below the current tax rate of .6340.

However, due to the increase in assessed property values, the proposed rate would collect about 8 percent more in taxes than what the municipality would need to generate the same amount of money as the previous year, therefore, adoption over the so-called “effective tax rate” would be considered a “tax increase.”

The Central Texas Appraisal District reported a 15 percent increase in overall appraised value of property within the Marble Falls city limits.

If the proposed tax rate is finalized, taxes on an $200,000 home are estimated to decrease by $38 per year, according to Marble Falls City Finance Director Margie Cardenas.

The tax rate public hearings are scheduled for Aug. 21 and Sept. 4. The vote on adoption is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Approved a public hearing date to consider potential changes to the so-called land use assumptions and capital improvements plan and impose proposed water and sewer impact fees for new development.

Officials have proposed a water impact fee of $2,761 per household and $3,293 per household for wastewater. These fees would be assessed on new development projects to pay for a porition of the cost of providing city infrastructure to new home/business construction. The public hearing date is scheduled for Sept. 18.

Recognized two businesses, a philanthropist and a family for donations to city programs, public safety support and infrastructure projects.

Mayor John Packer recognized HEB General Manager Rudy Gill for the grocery store donating several hundred dollars in 2017 and 2018 for the city's spring break program for area children which features week-long activities, food and events at the parks; Philanthropist Robert Ruff for his $50,000 donation to the Marble Falls Police Department for agency vehicle and body cameras; The Roper family for right-of-way land donations (estimated $800,000 value) for city easement on U.S. 281 south for infrastructure; Huber Engineering Manager Tom Seiter for $3,000 donation for the city's fire extinguisher training system.

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