Hill Country Village leaders are foregoing a fall bond election on a potential City Hall proposal, saying they hope spring 2023 will provide a clearer picture on the city’s finances and a way toward possibly self-funding a new municipal complex instead of issuing new debt.

City Council, convening Aug. 18, took no action on an agenda item that included possibly calling a Nov. 8 bond election regarding a new City Hall facility.

The city hosted three town halls earlier in August, collecting input from residents, many of whom in straw polls expressed a preference to replace the existing City Hall at 116 Aspen Lane with a larger, modernized structure.

But Council Member Carl Register said he felt many residents at the town halls also wanted more information on the any possible City Hall proposal.

City officials said they have also been looking at the city-owned undeveloped property at Bitters Road and Tower Drive, adding that a new municipal complex could be built there at an estimated cost of more than $3 million.

Local officials said it may cost less than $3 million to replace the existing City Hall at Aspen and enhance that property.

“People want a new City Hall, and they want it at this location, that’s the indication that I got,” Register said.

Register and Council Member Matthew Acock suggested ways that the city could possibly and legally redirect portions of available cash and projected revenue from different sources and funds toward constructing a new facility.

Register said the idea is for the city to avoid going into new debt. The city is still undergoing projects supported by an $8.5 million bond that voters passed in 2019 to fund road and drainage improvements citywide.

Register and Acock, among other council members, asked whether Hill Country Village could draw upon an expected surplus of money from the 2019 bond issue.

The city’s bond financing advisors answered that it is possible to do so, but in a future bond election, the city would have to offer voters a separate proposal to redirect those and other monies toward a new City Hall project.

Following the emergence of a council consensus on finding ways to self-finance a potential new City Hall, Register suggested waiting until early 2023 to consider adding a bond vote to Hill Country Village’s regularly scheduled May council elections. Feb. 17 is the state deadline to formally set a May 6 election.

“Our financial picture might be clearer and likely better than right now,” Register said about next spring.

Council Member Greg Blasko agreed, saying the city now has time to do the math and see what feasibly can be done to fund a new City Hall with little to no new debt.

Acock also said he would like to see the formation of a citizens advisory panel to meet this fall and into the winter to help develop a potential May ballot measure.

“That would be a time-intensive process,” City Attorney Marc Schnall said.

City officials said waiting until next spring to possibly call a bond election also gives local leaders and residents time to delve more into what to do with the Bitters property.

“The important thing is that there is a path forward to getting a new City Hall,” Council Member Thomas Doyle said.