Cedar Park City Council calls for November bond election

On Aug. 13, Cedar Park City Council members voted to call for a bond election in November—meaning voters will decide whether to approve  bond propositions totaling $96.7 million to finance new city projects.

The list of proposed bond-funded projects includes a new 50,000-square-foot location for the Cedar Park Public Library on Main Street, road projects such as extensions of New Hope Drive and construction of a new fire station.

Mayor Matt Powell said city leaders want to take advantage of low bond interest rates and use bonds to finance public projects that residents want. Powell said the city is required to repay the bonds within 30 years but will likely repay them sooner.

“We have very good credit, if you will, and it seemed like the timing was right” to ask voters to approve new bonds, Powell said Aug. 13.

He said the city’s 2008 bonds were expected to fund projects for about three or four years but instead lasted about seven years.

“We’re in a good interest market now,” Powell said July 23, adding that interest rates could increase later.

Items on the list come from city staffers’ combination of two list options presented by the Cedar Park Bond Advisory Task Force.

The group of 15 council-appointed representatives met during the spring and asked residents for feedback about which public improvement projects they want most.

Committee Chairman Cobby Caputo said members of the task force made two project lists because they wanted to give council flexibility in its final decision.

Caputo said that for example, one list included an early estimate of $15.3 million toward funding for Bell Boulevard redevelopment.

Another list included no funding for Bell and left any additional funding for the project up to the council to decide.
On July 23, Assistant City Manager Sam Roberts said staffers’ proposed third list of bond projects would include a total of $20 million to begin redevelopment of Bell Boulevard.

Council could approve any of the lists and preserve the city’s current property tax rate, he said.

“Financial analysis on all the options has concluded that any of the options can be accommodated within our current tax rate,” Roberts said. “[That’s because of] the really good economic condition, our strong credit rating and the fact that we’ve been doing some really efficient bond refinancing and paying down our bond debt.”

The city has not held a bond election since 2007, when city voters approved a total of $62.07 million in bonds, including $36.2 million for roads, about $18 million for parks and about $7.9 million for public safety.