Home Windcrest Windcrest weighs potential bond votes

Windcrest weighs potential bond votes

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WINDCREST — November’s municipal election could include potential bond issues, as well as a contest for the seats of three City Council members who earlier this year avoided a recall.

The city has until an Aug. 20 state deadline to call a special election for the bonds.

Beginning with meetings in May, the council has been considering one bond election Nov. 6 to support infrastructure improvements, and is contemplating a separate referendum to subsidize equipment purchases for the volunteer fire department.

“Even if we could fund the projects that come without a bond, we still need to go through a process that gets us there,” Mayor Dan Reese said.

City officials are mulling whether a bond is needed to pay for road and drainage upgrades on at least three major thoroughfares — Midcrown and Crestway drives, plus Eaglecrest Boulevard.

An OK from the electorate could finance the projects by using proceeds from general obligation bond sales as reimbursement, officials said.

The council appointed seven residents to a streets committee that will delve further into the issue and make recommendations.

District Engineer Leonard Young analyzed the expense to fix Eaglecrest, Midcrown, Crestway and Blue Grass Lane between Candleglo and Moorside drives, with estimates for each thoroughfare based on different types of repair, from slurry seal to reconstruction.

Prices ranged from $191,304 to $1.13 million.

These amounts don’t reflect possible work for pedestrian access. Place 1 Councilman Gerd Jacobi suggested the consultants include sidewalk improvements along the targeted streets because compliance with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act is something the city cannot afford to overlook.

Financial-consulting firm McCall, Parkhurst & Horton will act as a bond counsel, and RBC Capital Markets will serve as financial adviser. The businesses will help the city study potential ramifications to the municipal budget and/or property taxes.

“If it’s something we’re going to go through with, we should probably go ahead and invest the funds to find out what we can do to make the improvements and look at the bond,” Jacobi said.

Former Councilwoman Pam Dodson recommended the municipality examine all eligible funding sources, including available city Economic Development Corp. revenue, to see what money could be applied to prospective road projects. The move might reduce the impact on the municipality’s property-tax rate, she added.

“We all know about curb appeal when it comes to purchasing a home,” she said. “This would be the best advertisement for moving into our community.”

Also, the council on May 14 unanimously voted to begin planning to place a $2 million public-safety bond on the November ballot. Place 3 Councilman Jim Shelton said the city realizes it doesn’t have enough cash to handle much-needed major capital expenses for the volunteer fire department.

“From what I understand, we need a ladder truck, which would cost $1.2 million,” Shelton said, “and we need a new fire truck, which would be $600,000.”

Figures could change before the August cut-off date, Reese said.

Besides congressional, state and Bexar County races, the upcoming Windcrest ticket includes runs for council places 1, 2 and 3, held by Jacobi, James McFall and Shelton, respectively.

Residents petitioned for a May recall election of the trio after disagreements arose over city issues. However, a lack of a quorum during a critical meeting meant the council couldn’t proceed.

Residents also petitioned for an election to repeal the agreement the city had with a new Bugle Crew volunteer fire department, which replaced a long-standing VFD organization. The Bugle Crew pact was controversial with many neighbors.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the repeal of the pact May 5. Nine days later, the council voted 3-2 to begin developing a new agreement with the previous volunteer firefighters association.

Reese said whatever agreement results from this process “should have better controls and responsibilities” to guide the organization.

The council members and residents who pushed for the Bugle Crew volunteers said the previous VFD group lacked transparency and financial accountability.

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