Montgomery County commissioners approved June 18 moving forward on a $450 million bond package with a preference for a May 2025 election date following months of debate.

The big picture

In an updated presentation, John Roebuck—managing partner of BOK Financials, the county’s bond advisory council—said the county could issue $450 million in bond funds without increasing the debt service side of the county's tax rate.

However, Roebuck said that doesn't mean no increase will occur to the overall tax rate at any point, as the debt service rate is only a portion of the county's tax rate.

The bond would be issued in four series ranging from $100 million to $125 million over four years to keep projects moving in each precinct.

On the ballot, the bond would be split into three propositions which would allocate:
  • $93 million for each commissioner precinct’s road projects
  • $65 million for a new animal shelter
  • $12 million for a new tax office
Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack said he believes the Montgomery County Jail should be considered for a potential bond project due to the high cost of rebuilding the facility.

In their words

“We are going to have so many more people in [November] than in May,” Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough said. “If we proceed now, we will be six months ahead of the game. What is keeping us from doing it now?”

Noack and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley disagreed with a November timeframe, stating people would not have enough time to be informed on the bond propositions before going to the ballot box during a presidential election cycle.

“Our message has to be spot on, and we need to figure out what that message is going to be,” Noack said.

Noack also expressed he wished for Ritch Wheeler, the Precinct 3 commissioner-elect, to be in his new position before a bond was approved to get input.

Wheeler won the Republican primary for the position in March and has no Democratic opponent for the November general election. He's expected to take office Jan. 1.

Major takeaways

While a vote to put the bond on an official ballot was not able to be taken during the meeting, Keough ended the discussion on going ahead with a May timeframe despite opposition to the idea from himself, Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker and Precinct 4 Commissioner Matt Gray.

Roebuck and the county’s bond advisor, Marcus Deitz, said they would be capable of putting bond language together for November or May, and the county could still choose to put the bond on the November ballot until Aug. 16, which is the deadline to add election items for November.

Keough also urged the court to consider using bonds as needed in the future to accommodate nearly $1.5 billion in road and infrastructure needs across the county.