Hays creates citizens committee for November bond election
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 by Jacob Cottingham
Hays County Commissioners have voted to create a citizen’s committee to develop recommendations for the $20 million Hays Road Bond election, planned for November. In addition, the Court approved a tentative timeline for the bond election and authorized a request for proposal for consultant to work with the committee.
Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton introduced the agenda item after the Texas Department of Transportation approved Hays County’s request for an amendment to the pass-through financing agreement at a Feb. 28 meeting.
The citizens group will consist of nine members, two each appointed by the four commissioners and the chair appointed by Judge Liz Sumter. Appointments will be made after the commissioners approve a formal charge to the committee, which will likely be voted on next week. Mike Weaver of Prime Strategies will initially outline the charge.
Barton told the court he had considered authorizing the Transportation Advisory Board to handle the pass-through roads. However, Barton said two members he had spoken with indicated they were more interested in taking a broader, long-term approach to the County’s transportation needs.
In addition, the Court agreed to send letters to municipalities and school districts in order that they can begin preparing their top three choices for future improvements. The Court agreed that the ultimate decision as to how to divvy up the estimated $19.5 million in bond money would factor in what the communities had to say as well as what specific improvements would cost, weighed against the overall benefit to the citizens.
The tentative timetable has an April 14 deadline for proposals from cities and school districts. It envisions public hearings from all four precincts being held mid-April through June 1, with the Bond Committee’s final report due to court on July 15. August 26 is the last day that a General Election can be ordered.
In proposing the committee, Barton said he had “looked to Williamson County as an example.” That County held a road and park bond election in 2006. Last year the voters of Hays County rejected a road bond election.
Barton floated the possibility of a workshop on the issue. He also passed out copies of an email sent to Barton from Mike Weaver, outlining preliminary cash flow requirements from April 1 through December 2008. The timetable includes US 290 West with a projected funding of $4 million by June 2008, IH-35/CR 120 ROW and utilities at $8 million by September 2008, FM 1626 engineering at $2 million between May 2008 and January 2009 and US 290 West needing an additional $4 million by April 2009.
Staff members Cindy Maiorka and Jerry Borcherding as well as Mike Weaver before going out to the public will review the RFP.
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