Questions and comments about potential 2022 Boerne Quality of Life Bond can be directed to [email protected]
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Over the past 50 years, the City of Boerne has utilized general obligation (GO) bonds to restore, replace, and expand infrastructure and capital assets across the city. GO Bonds are a debt obligation issued by local governments to fund public purpose capital improvements, such as roads and public facilities. GO bonds are secured by and payable from the City’s pledge of ad valorem tax levied on all taxable property within the City. GO Bonds are proposed and voted on in citywide elections.
Since 1972, the City of Boerne City Council has sent four Bond Elections to the voters for their approval. Below is a brief timeline and background on those elections.
September 1972 – The Boerne City Council voted to seek voter approval of the issuance of $1.07 million for utility improvements and extensions. There were three proposals on the ballot, and all three were approved by voters.
Prop 1: $1,025,000 for waterworks improvements and extensions. For = 201, Against = 21
Prop 2: $28,000 for sewer improvements and extensions. For = 205, Against = 16
Prop 3: $17,000 for natural gas improvements and extensions. For = 200, Against = 20
April 1987 – The Boerne City Council voted to seek voter approval of the issuance of $3 million for street improvements, fire station facilities and library facilities. There were four proposals on the ballot, and two were approved by voters.
Prop 1: $2,000,000 for street improvements. The project included Esser Road, Oak Park, W. Highland, W. Hosack, Advogt, Frey, Hickman, Kronkosky, Schweppe, Becker, Stahl, James, Theissen, Plant, Live Oak, Frederick, Schleicher, North, Johns Road, Phil Wilson, Dailey, Roeder. For = 360, Against, 287
Prop 2: $625,000 for fire station facilities. For = 342, Against = 301
Prop 3: $300,000 for street improvements for West Theissen Street Crossing. For = 165, Against = 469
Prop 4: $75,000 for library facilities. For = 242, Against = 395
November 2001 – The Boerne City Council voted to seek voter approval of the issuance of $3.625 million for street and drainage improvements and to purchase and equip a new fire truck.
Prop 1: $2,740,000 to construct street and drainage improvements and purchase land (widen and realign Esser Road at River Road). For = 87, Against = 77
Prop 2: $525,000 to purchase and equip a new firetruck. For = 84, Against = 80
May 2007 – The Boerne City Council voted to seek voter approval of the issuance of $21.47 million public safety upgrades, a new library, green space/land acquisition, trail/sidewalk improvements.
Prop 1: $10,250,000 for public safety projects including a new Police Department Headquarter, Municipal Court, Expansion and remodel of Fire Station No. 1. For = 866, Against = 418
Prop 2: $5,000,000 for a new municipal library. For = 860, Against = 446
Prop 3: $830,000 to construct new sidewalks. For = 863, Against = 419
Prop 4: $1,990,000 for municipal trails and pedestrian paths. For = 745, Against = 556
Prop 5: $3,400,000 for parks improvements and purchase land for future park space. For = 813, Against = 493
Voters approved raising the tax rate by six cents, however, due to the increase in property values within the City limits, the collections were higher than expected and the tax rate was ultimately increased just two cents. All projects from the 2007 Quality of Life Bond have been completed.
The City of Boerne has an entire website for information related to the Bond Election -- boerne-tx.gov/bond2022
Homeowners who are 65 or older will not see a tax increase if voters approve the 2022 Quality of Life Bond.
If the bond goes to the ballot and passes in November 2022, the City will develop a project bid schedule. The first bonds would likely be issued in early 2023 to allow the projects to start as soon as possible.
If voters approve the propositions, no tax rate increases would be considered until the City's Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget process which is finalized in September 2023. At that time, the City would determine if an increase in the tax rate would be required to fund the issued debt. Over the life of the $36 Million in general obligation bond debt, there is a potential for a tax rate increase of up to 6 cents per $100 in assessed property value. The City works diligently to balance property tax rates with needs for other services, such as police, fire, transportation, and more.
Residents are the drivers of the development of this bond. Over the past five years the City has solicited resident’s feedback during our 2018 Master Plan creation, Community Transportation Committee, and with our first-ever Citizen Survey in 2021. Most responders said they want to see the City focus on investing in roads and intersections, green space, and managing and improving mobility. Read the full Citizen Survey here.
A general obligation bond (GO bond) is a common financial tool used by governments that is secured by and payable from a pledge of ad valorem tax levied on all taxable property within the City to repay bondholders over the life of the bonds.
Generally, banks or bond underwriters provide a governmental entity funds up front for capital projects to allow for the construction of large projects the entity wouldn’t otherwise be able to fund in one fiscal year. The governmental entity then repays those funds, including interest, over time.
In Texas cities like Boerne, GO bonds are typically sold in a competitive sale to ensure the lowest interest rate. Interest on the bonds is tax exempt to the bondholders because the City of Boerne is a government entity and the projects are public projects.
The City currently funds projects several ways, including through our general fund, enterprise funds, sales taxes, sale of bonds, development impact fees, and cost sharing with federal and state funding sources.
The City works to maximize the annual capital improvement budget each year, but like most cities our size, our infrastructure needs are greater than what annual funding can support. GO bonds offer the City a cost-effective financial tool to address a large number of both deferred maintenance and new infrastructure projects over the course of several years. By matching a project’s funding to the number of years the facility, park, or roadway will be in service, every generation of taxpayer who uses that asset will help pay for it.
If the bond is approved, we will not know who will buy the GO bonds until they are sold in the market. Boerne typically sells bonds competitively but will choose a negotiated sale or private placement if it is in the best interest of the City of Boerne and our taxpayers.
The timeline varies based on the project. Federal tax law does not allow the City to sell bonds that exceed the useful life of the project being financed. So, if a road is expected to last 20 years, the bond cannot exceed 20 years.
What we have available right now is not the final design, but simply meant to highlight the many features that are planned for the park. Those many features were identified by residents in the citizen survey and the 2017 Parks Master Plan. In working with the group that helped design the proposed plans for Northside the No. 1 goal was to maintain all healthy native trees. So, where the roadway goes down on the left side of the park, all those parking spots and the drive itself were designed and placed to go around the trees. Same goes for the dog park, the trees will be incorporated into the space. While some of the features will likely move around a bit if the park is developed the No. 1 goal of maintaining all healthy native trees will remain. Lastly, while not shown in the drawings yet, the end result will also mean more trees will be planted across the park increasing the overall tree count.