Oct 20th 2017 | Posted in Opportunities by Kristin Gordon

On May 6, 2017, registered voters went to the polls to decide if voting yes for a bond proposal was in the best interest of their community. Bonds approved in May totaled around $6.9 billion for these taxation districts and now governmental entities have entered into debt for the purpose of funding public improvement projects. A new round of bond proposals has made its way to the ballot and early voting begins Oct. 23. and runs through Nov. 3. Election Day is Nov. 7.

For those who are interested in knowing which cities, counties, school districts and others approved November for bond proposals can request a Texas bond package through Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI) here. The recipient of this package will find out what the bonds will be used for and will also be notified of which bond votes passed or failed following Nov. 7.  There is even a growing list of bond proposals for 2018.

The Humble Independent School District is looking ahead to 2018 for a possible bond election. If the community feels the bond is needed in 2018, Election Day will be May 5, and a decision is needed by Feb. 13 in order for a bond to be on the May 2018 ballot. If a bond is on the ballot and is voted in, the district plans to form a post-bond committee to track the progress of the new bond’s implementation. The district’s current student population of around 42,000 is anticipated to grow to 52,000 by 2025. Seven schools are over 40 years old, such as the 57-year-old Lakeland Elementary campus. The district doesn’t have a competitive pool and would like to have a new natatorium.   

The city of Temple is planning on going out for bonds in March 2018 for a $22 million bond package for its reinvestment zone projects. A majority of the bonds will fund the construction of the Outer Loop, a proposed six-phase project that will connect to Interstate 35 in north and south Temple. Phase I would begin at the intersection I-35 and Berger Road and would follow Moores Mill Road west to Wendland Road, eventually connecting with Central Pointe Parkway. The estimated cost of the project is $14.6 million.  

Tax increment financing is a tool that local governments can use to publicly finance needed structural improvements and enhanced infrastructure within a defined area. These improvements are usually undertaken to promote both the viability of existing businesses and to attract new commercial enterprises to such an area, which is referred to as a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ). Revenues that can be attributed to improvements within the TIRZ are a result in the increase in property values.  

The Stephenville Independent School District Facility Planning Committee has been discussing improvement needed for Stephenville High School, Henderson Junior High, Gilbert Intermediate and Hook Elementary. The district is getting feedback from the community, currently from a survey, and plans to have a finalized list of priority projects by November. Tentatively the list shows a total of $65,070,000 for Stephenville High School, $320,000 for Henderson Junior High, $10,430,000 for Gilbert Intermediate and $14,700,000 for Hook Elementary.  

Collin County, one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, is considering a $500 million bond election in November 2018 for transportation projects. Collin County Commissioners have been focusing on the extension of United States Highway 380, particularly west of U.S. Highway 75, an extension of Spur 399 east of the end of the Sam Rayburn Tollway, a north-south route in the peninsula of Lake Lavon and the Outer Loop west of U.S. Highway 75. The Texas Department of Transporation needs to conduct feasibility studies before final decisions are made on what roadways need work. Over the next year, the commissioners court will be working together with TxDOT, North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Collin County Planning Board, local cities and towns, and citizens to determine the appropriate level of bond funding required and to identify highway projects that will be included in the bond election. 

The city of Fort Worth is also looking ahead at 2018 for a bond proposal. If the bond proposal stands at $399.5 million it would be an increase over the last bond package in 2014, when voters approved spending $292 million on city projects. A large portion of the bond program, $258 million, would be used for street and transportation projects.  

A few of the suggested projects include a $10.5 million proposal to replace the Wedgewood Library, $7.8 million for a new fire station in far north Fort Worth and $6.1 million to replace an obsolete fire station in far south Fort Worth. The bond program would include $13.5 million for the construction of a 30,000-square-foot animal care and control center in north Fort Worth approved by voters in 2014 and $17.7 million to build a police headquarters on the south side. The city council will vote on a final project list in December and the target month for the election is May 2018.  

The cities of Austin, Corpus Christi and Dallas and many others could also be stepping up to the plate to initiate a 2018 bond program. General contractors, engineers and architectural firms will want to watch these elections carefully because the bond packages represent upcoming opportunities worth billions of dollars.


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