KRUM — City officials are leaving the issuance of $4.6 million in tax bonds up to the voters, who will decide May 11 on five propositions that include the construction of a new fire station and library.
City officials said there is an immediate need for the construction of the buildings and that the best option to pay for the projects is through bonds, which would require a property tax hike of 9 cents per $100 valuation to pay the debt.
The city held a public forum this week to give the community a chance to understand the issues and how the bonds would be used.
With interest rates low, now is the ideal time to issue bonds, said Boyd London, a financial consultant for Krum.
Propositions 1, 2 and 3 include issuing $2.8 million in bonds for a 13,500-square-foot fire station, $1.3 million for the library and $500,000 for street improvements.
Library Director Donna Pierce said the city has been in need of a new library for a few years. Like the fire department, Pierce said the library has outgrown its current space.
Pierce said the library has grown in popularity and the staff has even begun removing older books from the shelves to make room for newer ones.
The library is housed in a 2,400-square-foot facility and there’s little room for maneuvering around bookcases.
“We’re at capacity and during reading times, children are sitting cramped together,” she said.
Pierce said that approving Proposition 2 would allow the library to double its size and create an option for future expansions.
“And we are not just for kids,” she said. “We have computer stations and we have services for adults, teens and children. The new building will also create a community space for meetings, socializing and other programs.”
Public Works Director Adam Farguson said Proposition 1 would allow the city to purchase land and construct a new fire department building and a new public works building.
Financial Director Chris Speights said $250,000 will be used to purchase the property, $300,000 will be designated for the public works building and the remaining $2.2 million will be used to build the fire department facility.
“Both departments have outgrown their 40-plus-year-old buildings,” Farguson said.
He said the facilities will allow both departments to better respond to residents’ needs.
The city has plans to expand its boundaries and he said the city needs to begin preparing for the future growth, Farguson said.
Officials haven’t determined which roads would be repaired if Proposition 3 passes. They said prioritizing road construction would be a decision left to the council.
If each proposition passes, the city would have to increase property taxes by 9 cents per $100 valuation, which would go into effect this fall with the next fiscal year budget. A resident with a $100,000 home would pay an additional $90 a year under the new tax rate. The current tax rate in Krum is 59.983 cents per $100 valuation.
Under the remaining two propositions, voters will decide whether or not they want to increase the sales tax rate by 0.5 percentage points. The funds generated from the increase would be used to pay for improvements to the ballparks, park facilities and open spaces. The current sales tax is 7.75 percent.
The tax increase would also help cover the maintenance and operation expenses for the projects.
There were few residents at the public meeting, and city officials said they’ve received no negative responses from the community about the ballot. But they did say people are inquiring about the projects more often as the election draws near.
The election is May 11 and early voting begins Monday.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.