Shavano Park voters on April 25 will start casting ballots on the city's proposed $10 million road improvement bond issue.
The city hosted town halls on March 23 and April 20, providing attending residents with information about the bond proposal.
According to city officials at the March 23 meeting, a voter-approved bond could fund initial phases of a long-term city street repair plan. Shavano Park is proposing complete reconstruction of Bent Oak Drive, Chimney Rock Lane, Cliffside Drive, End Gate, Fawn Drive, Saddletree Road, Shavano Drive, Wagon Trail Road and Windmill Road.
The city is also proposing repaving the Post Oak Way entrance from Lockhill-Selma Road and complete reconstruction of the cul-de-sacs on Elm Spring Lane, Honey Bee Lane, Hunters Branch and Turkey Creek Road.
Additionally, the city is proposing repaving its part of DeZavala Road and improving it with sidewalks, bicycle lanes and drainage upgrades.
The audience viewed some targeted existing city streets via a drone video showing those roads located immediately east of Northwest Military Highway were built decades ago and require an overhaul.
The surfaces of some of the targeted roadways have sustained cracking partially because of increasing delivery truck traffic, city representatives said.
“Many of the streets on the east side [of Northwest Military Highway] are like this,” Public Works Director Brandon Peterson said of scenes on the video.
Local officials added that following repeated minor repairs and patching, it is time to rebuild the targeted streets. Officials also said the same of several cul-de-sacs located immediately west of Northwest Military.
“The base is really shallow. It was never constructed to standard,” City Manager Bill Hill said.
Hill explained to meeting attendees how the City Council arrived at their decision to float a $10 million road bond issue with help from engineering and bond financing consultants.
According to Hill, approving a bond this spring will allow the city to spend the rest of 2022 with engineers working out road reconstruction plans. He also said the city can capitalize on interest rates that are projected to increase.
Additionally, Hill said fixing the priority roads soon will permit the city to plan improvements on other public streets. Plus, DeZavala might be eligible for partial federal funding, alleviating some of the city’s financial burden for upgrades there.
“If we don’t address the near-term problem, we’re going to have a longer term problem, exponentially,” Hill said.
Financing a bond issue
According to city officials, it will also be more cost-efficient to do the required road improvements sooner than later.
“The more you defer the repairs, the more that costs to repair go up,” Hill said.
Local officials said even if voters were to approve $10 million in new debt, the city may not end up issuing that much debt. Additionally, city leaders said they can still figure out when to begin issuing debt and the length of financing.
Hill said financing a voter-approved street program could include a mix of a $0.01 hike in the debt service portion of the city’s total property tax rate, $1.3 million in available road maintenance funding and money from projected street maintenance sales tax revenue in coming years.
Mayor Bob Werner said all homeowners age 65 and over will see no property tax rate increase thanks to their local taxes being frozen. A homeowner under age 65 with an average home value of $775,000 may see an annual $78 tax increase.
If the bond receives voter approval, the city could start engineering of street projects early as January 2023 and solicit contractor bids a few months later.
Werner said major infrastructure repairs are part of maintaining a city’s high quality of life.
“Good cities have good roads,” he said.
A handful of residents posed questions, with some asking whether the city will address existing drainage issues.
City representatives said the proposed road projects will be engineered in a way that would minimize, if not eliminate, local drainage matters.
“The intent is not to increase drainage problems,” said Bobby Torres with KEW Engineers and Surveying.
Early voting will be held 8 a.m.-6 p.m. April 25-29; 8 a.m.-8 p.m. April 30 and May 2 and 3, and 12-6 p.m. May 1 at Shavano Park City Hall, 900 Saddletree Court, among many other Bexar County polling sites.
Election Day polls will be open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at individual voting precincts. Bond details can be found at www.shavanopark.org/news_detail_T2_R252.php.