Round one of approved bond packages means many procurement opportunities throughout Texas
On May 6, thousands of Texans made million-dollar decisions for their city, county, school district, local university/college and others in need of funding for big projects. There were 86 May 2017 bond elections held that were valued at more than $8 billion. Around 60 of those bonds passed, which brought the new total to over $6 billion.
Voters made other decisions at the polls, such as who would be mayor, school board trustees and whether the Houston Independent School District would take on a $77.5 million recapture obligation. In November 2016, HISD voters rejected Proposition 1, which had the recapture obligation at $162 million. Since then, action by the Texas Education Agency and other factors had reduced the obligation amount by more than half. Last Saturday, voters authorized HISD to send that recapture payment to the state. The state had informed HISD in 2015 that it was subject to recapture for the first time due to rising property values.
Texas’ system of “recapture” requires wealthier school districts with more valuable property to send some of their tax funds to the state to help fund poorer districts. Those funds are then administered through the Foundation School Program.
Lewisville ISD was approved for their $737 million bond package. The Lewisville ISD board of trustees called for the bond package in February to address infrastructure needs for the rapidly growing district, which enrolls more than 53,000 students.
The bond package includes $249.1 million for improvements to existing facilities, about $205.7 million to build new facilities, around $99 million for technology, $71.5 million for career and technical education, $45.1 million for athletics, $38.2 for fine arts and $28.8 for safety and security.
New structures will include two elementary and one middle school for the growing student population and two high school multi-purpose facilities. Previous HISD bond issues in 2005 and 2008 totaled $199.5 million and $697.7 million.
In April, LISD officials postponed several projects set to take place this summer after construction estimates came in at $8.5 million over budget for 12 projects.
Higher education received their bonds too. Voters approved a $600 million Collin College construction bond issue and picked members to city council posts in elections conducted last weekend. Bond proceeds will go to build a campus in Wylie, education centers in Farmersville and Celina, a technology center in McKinney and provide for maintenance of existing facilities. Over 50 percent of the vote was in favor of the single proposition bond package that will fund the college’s master plan.
With the passage of the bond issue, the college will address several priorities over the next five-to-seven years. Several new facilities will be built, including a public safety training center already under construction in McKinney. Other projects include a technical center in Allen, a campus in Wylie, educational centers in Celina and Farmersville, and an information technology center at the Preston Ridge Campus in Frisco. Collin College serves more than 53,000 credit and continuing education students annually and the passing of this bond will help facilitate a long-range plan to accommodate the projected population growth in Collin County over the next two decades.
Looking at the bigger picture was the city of San Antonio that received $850 million for an area that is expected to have a population of more than a million additional residents by 2040. The 2017 bond package is the latest in a succession of ever-growing bond initiatives put to San Antonio voters. They approved a $550 million bond in 2007 and a $596 million bond in 2012.
There was a total of six propositions attached to the $850 million bond. Proposition 1 includes 64 projects worth more than $445 million for streets, bridges and over 200 miles of sidewalks. Proposition 2 provides $138.9 million to 19 flood and drainage projects.
Proposition 3 includes $187 million for 79 projects for parks and recreation. As San Antonio’s population increases, demand for parks and green space will increase. Nurturing and adding to San Antonio’s parks will help keep the city family-friendly.
Proposition 4 contributes $24 million to 13 projects dedicated to library and cultural facilities improvements. Proposition 5 allows $34 million to be used for public safety facilities improvements and Proposition 6 dedicates $20 million to neighborhood improvements.
Now that the bond has passed, the city will begin the process of hiring firms to design the projects. The city has committed to finish or at least begin all bond projects in the next five years. On May 9, the city released a request for qualifications (RFQ) to choose architectural services for the 2017-2022 General Obligation Bond Program. The submission deadline for the RFQ is June 16.
Strategic Partnerships, Inc., has available for sale its Texas Bond Package, which provides a list of every public entity that held a bond referendum May 6.It includes the dollar amount of each bond proposition, details on the proposed projects and whether they were successful. Additionally, information is provided that outlines bond elections currently being discussed for November of this year and beyond.