Home Uncategorized Castle Hills mulls funding for streets, drainage

Castle Hills mulls funding for streets, drainage

Meanwhile, city council oks church property for religious use

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Castle Hills looks to issue debts to fund road and drainage improvements citywide. Photo by Edmond Ortiz

CASTLE HILLS — Though the work may take awhile, Castle Hills is considering issuing debt to fund about $10 million in street and drainage improvements.

City Council on July 14 unanimously passed a resolution signaling the municipality’s intent to issue certificates of obligation to support $3.3 million in road repairs, and $6.1 million in drainage upgrades.

If all goes well, the council will meet Sept. 15 to fully authorize the issuance of the bonds in a competitive sale, closing in October.

Initial road and drainage work would begin in 2021.

SAMCO Capital Markets Inc., Castle Hills’ financial advisers, briefed the council July 9 on more than $40 million in pressing infrastructure needs.

“While (potential projects) cannot all be completed at once, one option is to issue certificates of obligation in incremental amounts to finance improvements,” Alderman Joe Izbrand said.

According to city officials and consultants, the initial $10 million in bonds would cover a first phase of high-priority street and drainage betterments identified in the municipality’s long-range capital improvements plan.

“For as long as I have been in city government, the biggest complaint is streets and drainage,” Mayor JR Treviño said at the July 14 meeting. “For as long as I’ve been paying attention, we’ve been paying as we go. I think we can all agree that’s not getting us anywhere. This is something we’ve discussed that would get us closer, quicker, to addressing more issues in (regard) to streets and drainage.”

The resolution passed by the council doesn’t obligate the city for debt issue, but it is the initial step to allow the first year’s debt payments to be included with the upcoming property-tax process, and for street and drainage projects to begin in 2021.

City Manager Ryan Rapelye said the town would inform residents about the list of initial thoroughfares and drainage areas slated for renovation.

“(It will include) the worst streets first, the ones that are failing, the ones that need to be reconstructed,” he added.

An assessment of road conditions conducted a few years ago shows 33.6% of local streets are considered “fair” and 23.8% “poor.”

Parts of Antler, Roleto and Lemonwood drives, plus Bluet Lane received low scores.

Tom Spurgeon, the city’s bond counsel, said older adults who have a property-tax freeze in place, or those eligible for such, won’t be affected if the burg proceeds with issuing new debt.

The city currently has no debt weighted against the interest-and-sinking portion of its overall tax rate.

Treviño noted the city’s intent to issue debt to support comprehensive road and drainage repairs “is a step in the right direction and it’s our due diligence to make sure this is something that works for the city of Castle Hills.”

In other action in July, the council amended a special-use permit granted in May to Wayside Chapel Evangelical Free Church for religious use of 113 Ivywood Circle. The amendment lets the church provide additional parking spaces on the property.

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