Hays County leaders point to parks, road bond successes ahead of potential November bond proposition

Hays County commissioners pointed to the 2007 parks bond, which helped construct park facilities throughout Hays County including at the Purgatory Creek Natural Area, as evidence of the county's ability to manage large-scale bond projects.

Hays County commissioners pointed to the 2007 parks bond, which helped construct park facilities throughout Hays County including at the Purgatory Creek Natural Area, as evidence of the county's ability to manage large-scale bond projects.

At a meeting July 19, Hays County commissioners pointed to past bond successes as evidence of the county's ability to handle large-scale projects ahead of a potential November bond to address the county's aging law-enforcement infrastructure.

Commissioners discussed the county’s 2007 parks bond, which included $30 million for construction and improvements at parks throughout the county, as well as parkland acquisition.

Through a combination of in-kind donations and sponsorships the county was able to combine the voter-approved $30 million with more than $45 million, to complete $75.77 million of improvements to parks, according to the July 19 presentation.

Projects funded through the bond include 5-Mile Dam Park in Kyle, Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well in Wimberley, Bradfield Park in Buda and Purgatory Creek Natural Area in San Marcos.

“I think this is a good testament to our ability to take Hays County taxpayers' funds and find opportunities and partners to provide … recreation and environmental stewardship,” Commissioner Ray Whisenant said.

The county is considering putting a bond proposition on the November ballot that would construct new law-enforcement facilities including a new jail, law-enforcement center and co-located communications center. Commissioner Will Conley said the 2007 parks bond is evidence of the county’s ability to successfully manage bond projects.

“This [parks bond presentation] is … so that the public is well-informed, and as we potentially consider propositions in November, that the public understands what we have done with the dollars they have approved over the years and how that money was invested, how it was managed, how it impacts the financial stability and strength of the county and where we end up lying from a fiscal standpoint,” Conley said.

On July 12 commissioners also received a presentation on the 2008 road bond, which helped build almost $500 million of transportation projects throughout the county. Of the nearly $500 million spent, $255.28 million came from the county and the remaining $237.55 million came from the Texas Department of Transportation, local municipalities or the federal government.

“Critics at the time said we wouldn’t manage this properly, that this program was too much, we would degrade the Hill Country, the state would not pay us back, and that the county did not have the financial ability or capacity to fund that program with the state,” he said.

Projects built or planned using funds from the 2008 road bond and local, state and federal partnerships include the FM 110 Loop, RR 12 improvements, ramp and access road improvements along I-35 and widening of FM 1626.

"Most people at the department of transportation [and] colleagues across the state will say that our program has been one of the models over the past 10 years on how to successfully partner and get things done," Conley said.