McLennan County commissioners are considering a multimillion-dollar bond to address street projects, Americans With Disabilities Act violations and possible new elections equipment.
The bond amount could total as much as $50 million.
Commissioners heard a report Monday about different options with a bond — including issuing $10 million this year, and splitting the rest the next two years — and will wait for a report from the finance committee before moving forward.
Commissioner Will Jones said it is imperative that the county move forward with the bond to finance the long-term projects as interest rates are at historic lows, minimizing the projects’ impact on taxpayers.
Scenarios presented to commissioners include an increase in the tax rate of about one and one-third of a cent.
Three road projects that have been under discussion for some time by commissioners for repair include Speegleville Road, Surrey Ridge Lane and Chapel Road.
The three projects alone would cost about $32 million. Speegleville and Chapel roads are in Precinct 4, and Surrey Ridge is in Precinct 1.
County Judge Scott Felton said more than likely they will issue a $10 million bank-qualified bond before the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30.
A large part of the bond also would cover costs associated with correcting the more than 350 violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act cited by the Department of Justice, which surveyed county property in 2011.
Felton said the money could go toward addressing the Extraco Events Center fairgrounds and coliseum, which, other than the courthouse, has the most high-dollar violations. Felton said the events center has issues across its campus.
Commissioners have not yet compiled a construction list of projects, related costs, a guideline and timeline, Felton said.
“We’re in the big, broad category, 30,000-feet-view of what we think,” Felton said.
Another portion of that bond could go toward the purchase of new county election equipment. Felton said the equipment cost $10 million when it was purchased a decade ago.
Elections Administrator Kathy Van Wolfe has told the court the equipment may only have three to five years of life left.
Mark McLiney, with SAMCO Capital Markets, said the county’s debt service tax rate is 2.6 cents.
When the county issues its bond, or how it splits that bond through 2018, will depend on how it impacts the county’s debt service tax rate.
Many of the figures are driven by preliminary reports that indicate the county’s property valuation is up nearly 8 percent, he said.