Pflugerville may call for road bonds

A need for Pflugerville road improvements could spur a bond election in 2014.

Pflugerville City Council broached the idea of a bond at its retreat April 27 and outlined potential projects on Heatherwilde Boulevard, East Pflugerville Parkway, Weiss Lane and East Pecan Street. Pflugerville City Manager Brandon Wade said the four roads received priority based on pressures from developers and Pflugerville ISD.

"Anticipation of future development is what it boils down to," Wade said. "[We have seen] a combination of various development pressures from developers and discussions with the school district about where they might want to put a future school location."

The council has not officially set the bond and will probably not make a decision on whether to hold a bond election until the end of this year. In the meantime, the council could decide to add or take away projects from the list.

The city held its last bond election in 2008, when voters approved renovations and expansions for the Pflugerville library but voted down funding a new City Hall and recreation center. The city was able to absorb the cost of the bond without raising taxes, and if another bond is passed in 2014, the city will aim to cover as much of the cost as possible without passing the debt on to taxpayers.

"It will certainly take a few cents to do it, but whether or not we attempt to absorb part of that, or whether it would be something that would require the tax rate to change, that's to be determined," Wade said.

The estimated cost of the bond would be approximately $30 million. The Heatherwilde Boulevard project, which will widen the road from two lanes to four, will cost approximately $8.3 million, according to city estimates. Residents ranked work on Heatherwilde as the most important infrastructure improvement for the city in a recent survey.

"It's certainly a very heavily traveled roadway," Wade said. "It is also one of the few locations in the core of the city that is not improved."

The projects on East Pecan Street, Pflugerville Parkway and Weiss Lane are slated to facilitate Pflugerville's eastward growth and coming developments such as the Hwy. 290: Manor Expressway and a new Pflugerville ISD high school campus.

Although the district has not decided on a location for its next high school, PISD Public Information Officer Amanda Brim said the district expects to build the campus near Weiss Lane. A bond to build the new high school may be put to a resident vote as early as May 2014, but Brim said no timeline has been set.

"I would expect that based on our anticipated growth that ... the next high school would be located on the east side of the district," Brim said.

The Manor tollway is being built by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and will connect US 183 and

Hwy. 290 upon its estimated completion in 2014. Steve Pustelnyk, Mobility Authority director of communications, said the tollway will promote mobility in Pflugerville and throughout the region.

"We would anticipate that it would have a tremendous effect in terms of allowing people better access in and out of the city, making it a more attractive location for both businesses and [residents]," Pustelnyk said. "It should have a significant economic benefit for that entire region, including Pflugerville."

By Korri Kezar
Korri Kezar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011 with a degree in journalism. She worked for Community Impact Newspaper's Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition for two years before moving to Dallas. Five years later, she returned to the company to launch Community Impact Newspaper's Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth edition, where she covers local government, development, transportation and a variety of other topics. She has also worked at the San Antonio Express-News, Austin-American Statesman and Dallas Business Journal.