The 2022 State of the City event hosted by the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce took place Oct. 18 and highlighted the growth in New Braunfels, results from the community survey and the investments being made in the city.

New Braunfels City Manager Robert Camareno gave the presentation for the event with GNBCC Presiding Chair Patrick Rose opening up the address by explaining the Confluence economic development plan.

“Our successes have created a two-way dislocation. We need to work to bring people closer to employment [with] high-skilled, high-wage jobs here in New Braunfels, on the one hand,” Rose said. “And on the other, we need to bring more housing options to the New Braunfels.”

Fiscal year 2022-23's general fund budget revenue is over $89 million with the biggest contributors being sales tax, property tax, and the parks and recreation service. Compared to the FY 2013-14 general fund budget revenue, it has increased by around 95% in just nine years, according to Camareno.

The city of New Braunfels has reduced its reliance on property tax revenue, passing the largest property tax decrease in over 25 years, Camareno said. The economy is thriving as it recovers from the pandemic.

“We are now at a point where [sales tax revenues] are better than we were pre pandemic; in fact, many of our revenue sources have not only recovered, but actually it's exceeded pre pandemic levels,” Camareno said.

Camareno discussed the tremendous growth taking place in New Braunfels and said he predicts the population of the city has surpassed 100,000 people. If the rate of growth continues, by 2034 nearly 87% of developable land will be utilized in the incorporated areas of the city.

“I think that must change the way we start to plan for the future,” Camareno said. “Start to rethink how we position ourselves for some of that growth that still needs to occur and the redevelopment in some areas that will also occur.”

A community survey was conducted in 2022, which was sent to 6,000 households at random in New Braunfels. Camareno said the survey’s results have revealed the city needs to focus on improving transportation and mobility. The city received positive responses on utility infrastructure, public safety and the economic health of the city.

“What [the survey] told us was that residents of New Braunfels enjoy their quality of life,” Camareno said. “In fact, 87% rated the quality of life in New Braunfels, as either excellent or good.”

Over $180 million in funding towards projects throughout the city has been proposed by the 2023 Bond Advisory Committee. The New Braunfels City Council will review and finalize the recommendations in the next few months and call for a bond election in May of 2023, according to the city.

“The bond advisory committee is working with about $340 million worth of projects with the largest component of the program being transportation, again to address the needs that we know we have in our community,” Camareno said.

Camareno ended the presentation by encouraging those attending to learn about the proposed bond projects and vote in the May 2023 election.

“The investments are needed; they don't go away; they just get deferred and get more expensive,” Camareno said. “The time is now; we have the capacity and the need now.”