Round Rock City Council on April 25 voted 7-0 to issue $30 million in certificates of obligation, a property tax-backed bond that does not require voter approval.
The money is targeted for improvements on several area roadways. The projects could include the extension of Kenney Fort Boulevard from Forest Creek Drive to SH 45; widening of Gattis School Road from A.W. Grimes Boulevard to Double Creek Drive; widening of Gattis School Road from Via Sonoma to Red Bud Lane; improvements to University Boulevard/Chandler Road from A.W. Grimes Boulevard to SH 130; and engineering for the extension of Wyoming Springs Drive from Creek Bend Boulevard to FM 3406.
Issuing the certificates of obligation is expected to increase the city’s portion of the property tax rate by $0.015 in 2020.
Other funding sources
Money from certificates of obligation is one of several approaches the city is using to fund road improvements. Other funding sources include a portion of the city’s sales tax, state and federal grants and money from private developers.
The city currently levies a half-cent, Type B sales tax where one-half cent of city sales tax funds roads and economic development projects in Round Rock.
The half-cent sales tax was expected to generate $19.5 million for roads and economic development during the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The city of Round Rock now expects the collections to be $21.3 million, primarily due to continued growth in the Dell portion of the sale tax, according to city staff.
Round Rock is also leveraging state and federal funds for the transportation projects. In April 2018, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization awarded the city a $29 million grant for work on Kenney Fort Boulevard, Gattis School Road and University Boulevard.
A fourth element available to offset the cost of road projects is the recently approved roadway impact fees. Round Rock City Council passed an ordinance March 14 that requires developers to pay a one-time cost to fund transportation infrastructure. The city in turn, will use the revenue to cover costs of transportation infrastructure.
Other roadway improvements targeted in the five-year funding effort include work on Deepwood Drive, Logan Street, McNeil Road, North Mays Street, Oakmont Drive, Old Settlers Boulevard, Red Bud Lane, RM 620, the SH 45 frontage road and additional portions of Kenney Fort Boulevard and Gattis School Road.
All projects under consideration are part of Round Rock’s Transportation Master Plan. The $1.2 billion plan, adopted October 2017, outlines improvements for Round Rock’s future population of 250,000.