Hays County Approves Summer Sale of Final 2008 Voter-approved Road Bonds for Mobility, Safety Improvements
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – As it prepares to issue bonds this summer for the remaining voter-approved 2008 road bonds, Hays County officials heard additional good news about County finances from its bond advisor, Dan Wegmiller, Managing Director of Specialized Public Finance, Inc.
Wegmiller told the Court that its bonds continue to sell well (Hays County enjoys an AA bond rating) at interest rates much lower than the 5.5-to-6-percent anticipated in 2008.
Since 2010 the County has realized more than $16 million in interest savings by refinancing bonds and certificates of obligation to take advantage of lower interest rates while maintaining the original maturity date of the bonds.
“It’s a challenge to keep up with growth in our county,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe said. “If the Commissioners Court and voters hadn’t been proactive in realizing and acting on the expected population growth and subsequent transportation needs, we’d have a traffic situation that might be impossible to correct. It is imperative that we continue to be proactive and seek innovative funding solutions.” She noted that today Hays County’s estimated population is 195,000, which in 2008 when the bonds were approved was not expected to be reached until 2021.
When it put together its 2008 bond package, the Hays County Commissioners Court negotiated an agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the state agency to reimburse $133 million of the road improvements, with the reimbursements paid quarterly instead of annually once the roadways are completed. That has allowed the cost of the U.S. 290 improvements to be reimbursed in less than four years instead of the 20 years originally expected. While bonds were issued for approximately $148 million originally, the road projects themselves are now expected to cost approximately $125 million due to lower construction and material costs, contributions from area cities and Congressional earmarks for transportation improvements. TxDOT will still reimburse the entire $133 million, with any savings programmed to reduce the bond debt.
“This has become one of the most successful transportation programs in our state,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley said. “It’s been a model for good government and strong partnerships. We have come in well under budget and have over-delivered on what the County told taxpayers in 2008, making our community safer and more prosperous.”
Major improvements to U.S. 290, RM 12, FM 110, FM 1626 and I-35 are just a few of the projects that were accomplished by the bonds. For a complete look at road projects in Hays County, visit www.co.hays.tx.us and choose the Transportation Projects link on the home page.