In November, Hays County voters approved two bond propositions totaling $237.8 million, and in 2017, voters throughout San Marcos, Kyle and Buda may be faced with more bond proposals. The city of San Marcos as well as San Marcos and Hays CISDs are considering holding elections requesting voter permission to issue debt aimed at accommodating growth throughout Hays County.


San Marcos bond

In San Marcos, discussions of a potential May bond have focused on new city facilities for public services departments, including fleet maintenance, parks and recreation maintenance, and streets maintenance, as well as new or renovated police and fire facilities and changes to the city’s library.

San Marcos Mayor John Thomaides, who was sworn in
Dec. 21 as the city’s new mayor, said the city has not held a bond election in more than a decade. Although the city has made investments in a “fiscally responsible and common-sense way,” he said it has also put off high-cost items related to facilities.

“We have facilities where a lot of our city employees are working in closets that have been converted into offices, or [they’re working in] hallways,” Thomaides said. “We essentially have a city built for about half the number of employees we actually have.”

If the city is to hold a bond election in May, council will need to grant final approval for the election by Feb. 17.


Voters will likely be faced with two propositions: one addressing public safety facilities and the other focused on other city facilities such as an expansion at the city library.

The city is awaiting recommendations from a bond committee tasked with identifying projects that could be funded through a bond election.

City Council also discussed bond package options, as well as a potential tax rate increase associated with bond projects, at a Jan. 17 meeting.


San Marcos CISD bond

San Marcos CISD is working with Templeton Demographics, the district’s demographer, to determine where future growth will necessitate new elementary school campuses, Superintendent Michael Cardona said. The district plans to address its capacity issues through a bond referendum.

The district’s last bond, which was approved by voters in 2013,  addressed some academic needs, such as the Bonham Prekindergarten campus and a new alternative learning center campus, but it also focused heavily on extracurricular needs, such as a new football stadium and student activity facility. The 2017 bond will focus on academics, Assistant Superintendent Karen Griffith said.

“Elementary and middle school is where we’re going to focus the effort for this bond election,” Griffith said.

On Jan. 10 members of a bond committee discussed three potential bond packages, each of which included construction of at least one new elementary school. Each of the three bond packages discussed totaled $110-$120 million.

One of the bond packages, which was heavily discussed at the Jan. 10 meeting, included a project that would convert Mendez Elementary School to include kindergarten through eighth grade. The K-8 school could potentially be modeled after a magnet school, with special emphases on programs such as dual-language or fine arts education. Exact details of how a K-8 school would function in SMCISD have yet to be determined.

Griffith said the district is committed to not increasing the tax rate.

In fiscal year 2013-14, the district’s property tax rate increased from $1.35 per $100 valuation to $1.4141 per $100 valuation. Part of that increase was to fund the bond projects.

Hays CISD bond

In Hays CISD, a committee charged with creating a bond proposal has recommended as its highest priority construction of the district’s third high school at a cost of $122 million. The second and third highest priorities in the bond call for construction of two new elementary schools that combine to cost $79.85 million.

In all, the committee has recommended $265 million of projects throughout the district to be funded through the bond.

District spokesperson Tim Savoy said HCISD does not anticipate a change to its tax rate as a result of the bond.

The process of formulating the bond was passed Jan. 9 from a growth impact committee to the board of trustees.

The district’s tax rate has held steady at $1.5377 per $100 valuation since FY 2013-14 after voters approved a $59.1 million bond in 2014 that funded, among other projects, the construction of McCormick Middle School, which opened in August.

Before that, the district last had a bond approved in 2008 when voters approved an $86.7 million referendum, which funded two elementary schools and a middle school, among other projects. That bond did not increase the district’s adopted tax rate, which was $1.4613 per $100 valuation at the time.

This story is one update from The January Issue. View the full list of 5 things to look for in 2017  here.