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Ballot set for Hays County road bond election
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 by Jacob Cottingham
After more than a year’s worth of planning, debate, community meetings and consultant workshops, the Hays County Commissioners Court Tuesday unanimously approved a $207 million road bond to be included on the November 4 ballot. The funds will cover the “pass through” roads, which are part of a Texas Department of Transportation reimbursement deal, as well as 12 other roads to improve safety and mobility and stimulate the voters.
The added roads were a departure from last year’s $172 million road bond, which voters rejected in May 2007.
Because of the past failure to pass a road bond, commissioners were sensitive to the wording of the bond, editing it very carefully. The final version included the sum of $207,110,000 and language stating “the county expects to be reimbursed for a maximum amount of $133,170,000 over time,” an allusion to the TxDOT agreement which pays back the county’s capital construction costs based upon the number of cars that utilize the roads.
The pass through roads include segments of IH 35, FM 1626, FM 110, and US 290. The pass through roads amount to $148,225,000 of the bond and would have a reduced tax impact. Additional “priority roads” included on the ballot were “sections of Old Bastrop Highway, SH 21, Dacy Lane, Post Road, FM 967, Lakewood Drive, FM 150, RR 12, FM 3225, Lime Kiln Road, RM 1826” and other parts of US 290 not included in the pass through agreement.
Due to the complicated financial structuring of the payments and interest between the state, county and banks the estimated tax impact is less for the pass through roads than it is for the priority roads. The result is that the pass through roads would tack on an estimated $1.67 in monthly taxes for a $200,000 home, The priority road projects would amount to $58,885,000 and account for an increase of an estimated $5.25 per month for a $200,000 home. The entire sum is estimated to add an additional $6.92 onto a $200,000 home’s property taxes each month.
Although there is no legally binding agreement as such, Barton indicated the county could expect up to $7 million more from the two municipalities, which could potentially take off another 25 cents a month for a $100,000 home or cover unexpected cost increases in construction.
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