County delays vote on 2013 bond debt issue

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Denton County commissioners are waiting until next week to vote on issuing bond debt for the 2013 fiscal year until a few nagging questions are answered about some of the proposed projects.

After meeting several times in the past month, the capital improvements committee gave its recommendation to the court this week, but Commissioner Andy Eads wanted to postpone a vote on the agenda item.

“I agree that it’s important we keep moving forward to keep up with our rate of growth in the county and fully implement our bond program,” Eads said. “I was just wanting to go back and verify what the committee was recommending was in line with the priorities for the precinct projects I recommended to them.”

Eads noted that he was not trying to control the committee; he said he was looking out for his precinct.

Projects on the list for the 2013 fiscal year fall under the categories of technology, facilities, roads and tax note projects. They include the Sandy Jacobs Government Center renovation project, juvenile case management system, county roads in Precinct 1 and a video system for the jail expansion.

The first three categories fall under the umbrella of the voter-approved bond package from 2008 and total $50.6 million. The tax notes projects total $10.5 million.

The committee’s annual job is to look at the projects currently in the county’s capital improvements plan and determine the best way to proceed — whether the projects are ready to be funded or if they need to be pushed back — and make those recommendations to the court.

“We have so many building projects going on right now,” said Donna Stewart, the county’s budget officer.

“For example, our original plan included the Loop 288 Administrative Complex phase three project in 2013. We bumped that project out an additional two years. Next year we’re proposing we fund the design of the building, and in 2015, we issue the debt to construct the building.”

The committee members make an effort to keep taxpayer debt at an acceptable level.

Eads said the phased approach to the projects is important and that officials have done a good job of balancing that approach with the tax rate, especially with a tough budget year expected because of the jail expansion.

Eads is also looking forward to the chance to refinance some of the existing debt and get some savings, which will be discussed in Commissioners Court next week.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is blewis@dentonrc.com .

 


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