San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 6th, 2008
Kyle staff proposes five-year capital improvement budget

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

KYLE – The Kyle city staff went before the city council this week with a five-year capital improvement plan containing no surprises.

The plan calls for $35.5 million in capital improvements, $20.3 million of which will be funded by long-term debt the city already has issued. But the plan will certainly grow in the next two years, because it doesn’t call for the issue of debt to pay for a $20 million recreational center in the city’s wishes. City officials plan to go before voters in November 2009 to ask for the bonding authority.

The city has also yet to establish how it will fund a new library, which figures to cost about $4 million sometime between 2010 and 2012, though it’s likely the city will do it with long-term debt.

Adding the city’s entire wish list, including the library and rec center, the total comes to $62 million. However, the plan only calls for a little more than half of that.

Of the expenditures described in the plan submitted to the city council Tuesday night, the largest, by far, is $17.5 million to build infrastructure around the Seton Hospital and shopping development at Kyle Parkway and Interstate-35.

The road improvements are among $25 million of capital outlays proposed for Fiscal Year 2008-09. The city is looking at another $2 million in long-term debt for FY 2008-09 to spend on water, sewer and other facilities. The remaining funds will come from operating revenues and impact fees.

Besides transportation improvements around the coming Seton Hospital, the city plans its largest capital outlays in the nest five years for water and sewer, which will undergo $7.5 million in improvements to be funded by impact fees.

The city will spend about a million in the next five years to replace police equipment, mostly vehicles, and another $283,000 for new police programs. Parks and Rec would receive $833,000 in replacement items and another $602,000 for new programs in the next five years. The police and parks outlays will be funded as general operating expenses.

The city council has tentatively planned a workshop for the five-year plan on June 24. A public hearing is scheduled for the city council meeting on July 1, with another council workshop slated for July 8 before the plan is scheduled for approval on July 15.

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8 thoughts on “Kyle staff proposes five-year capital improvement budget

  1. Bill, you said the entire wish list was 62 million. Do you know what the total debt of the city currently is? With the downtown project (3-4 million), the PUD (14 million), the city committed 11 million to county roads, the 3 million to city hall, the purchase of the bank, and all past bonds is the city pushing 90 million in debt?

    Tax increases coming!!

  2. David,

    Based on your past comments at city council meetings and this comment, I believe you have historically misunderstood the impact of the city’s debt portfolio, asset portfolio and overall budget picture. The City of Kyle has consistently utilized a very conservative forecasting model when determing whether to issue debt service. The impact of issuing debt on the tax rate is usually the first thing that is considered and the primary factor. Because of substantial commercial and residential growth within the city’s jurisdiction, the expanded property tax base offsets the impact of debt service on the city’s property tax rate. Similarly, the unprecedented actual and planned retail projects in the city will undoubtedly contribute substantial sales tax revenue to the city. Sales tax revenue offsets potential increases in property tax rates. Most importantly, if debt is used to build infrastructure that directly leads to projects that will generate substantial revenue growth far in excess of the cost of that debt, it makes good financial sense to do so. The overall size of the debt load means nothing absent an understanding of the entire equation.

    It goes without saying that it is difficult to manage the infrastructure needs of a growing city without raising tax rates. Kyle has done that for 10 years in a row and counting. Clearly, there are circumstances that could lead to rate increases – bad projections, bad economy, etc. However, given the city’s overall economic health, indicated by it 2nd consecutive bond rating upgrade, the real risk of a substantial tax inrease would be if the city council creates an imbalance between its revenue growth derived from increases in its property tax base and expanded retail sales tax, and new capital projects. The proposed rec center could do that if it is pursued too quickly, but even that caution has to be tempered with the fact that the city’s revenue projections are purposefully conservative.

    While I share your concern for keeping taxes low, I continue to believe that your repetitive sounding of the tax increase alarm based solely on your misinterpretation of only one part of a very complicated and interdependent formula is irresponsible. It is a disservice to those who have actually worked to maintain that balance and keep the city property tax rate from being increased.

  3. The PUD??? That would be a Planned Unit Development. I have no knowledge of the City of Kyle playing a role as a developer. Perhaps Mr. Walsh is referring to the TIF. For someone who likes to boast of their MBA (University of Phoenix), you would think he would get his acronyms correct. Makes me wonder about the accuracy of his figures.

  4. Lila,

    Thank you for the correcting my mistake. I always like to learn and share knowledge too. So lets help everyone together.

    Is this little Lila Knight? If so how is the campaign for the PEC going?

    If so little Ms. Lila Knight you failed to show at the PEC forum and have failed to post any response at the http://www.PEC4U.org/candidates/2008/ site. Why?

    At your website, you state “I am not a politician”. Contrary to your statement you ran a losing race for Kyle City Council. Furthermore, you were recognized as a major contributor at a Hays County political convention. You campaign on a national and local level by writing letter to editors, donations, and writing comments on websites. You speak regularly at Hays County and Kyle City meetings. Examples of Ms. Knight’s carping on politics and censuring others go to newstreamz.com around the month of February 2008. Here is one example “It’s rumored Todd Webster will be running in the future for the position of County Judge. But I wouldn’t worry too much” (newstreamz.com, April 22, 2008). The fact is you are politically active. Please explain.

    Ms. Knight in your candidate information package you state (along with many typos) that the advisory Board should be eliminated or be filled with experts. I believe the voter should apply the same to the board. After all, you believe your experience has given you a “keen eye for detail (how about typos) and knowledge on how boards should operate.” Yet, not once do you mention any board of director’s experience, let alone any experience in the power industry. You even leave out your company’s name Knight and Associates. Without Ms. Knight having any experience and knowledge of this business and then eliminating the advisors how could one make good decisions? Ms. Knight’s “keen eye for details” is lacking. Why?

    Ms. Lila Knight you write on your website “I believe in transparency”. However Knights and Associates isn’t it listed on your website. Does it have anything to do with the words tax, multiple times or penalty? You fail to list your company name, Knights and Associates, in the candidate information package too. Your failure to be transparent about Knight and Associates is a huge red flag that all voters should take notice. Do you agree?

    Voters remember Ms. Knight’s statements: “I am not a politician”, yet she lost while running for political office. Ms. Knight states “anyone who knows me will tell you I’m tenacious”. Tenacious means adhering to something valued. Ms. Knight showed no tenacity by failing to show at the forum or respond at the PEC candidate website. She states “I believe in transparency”, yet she fails to mention Knights and Associates anywhere. Why?

  5. Todd,

    With your valuable insight and obvious greater knowledge then most of the public please share the following:

    What is the long term debt ratio for City of Kyle?

    What is the debt equity ratio?

    What is Cash coverage ratio?

    Next subject: Liquidity

    What is the NWC to assets?

    What is the Current ratio?

    What is the cash ratio?

    Please explain how these ratios, good or bad, are judged by the city council. Your answers will be a great start for me to understanding how the city budget operates. Thanks for your help

    David

  6. David,

    Very good. You’re learning – your use of the term “ratio” seems to acknowledge that the city has assets. Now that you have figured out that the city has assets as well as debts, see what you can lookup on the Internet about municipal revenue and income growth. When your finished I think the Comptroller’s website might have some information you could study regarding property tax revenue projections and sales taxes.

    When you get all of that together you might want to factor in the escalating costs of construction and other inflationary pressures. Some of those things may tip the balance in favor of issuing debt to build infrastructure sooner rather than later. Then there is always the speculative nature of anticipating the impact of an economic development project. Oh, and we can’t forget the low cost of Kyle’s debt service resulting from it’s excellent bond rating.

    My point here is the same as the earlier post. Sometimes issuing debt is a smart thing for a city to do and there are many factors that have to be considered. Because the decision involves consideration of many factors, it is easy for demagogues to use a single issue like the threat of a tax increase to scare people and cause alarm in the community. That is what I believe you have been trying to do for nearly two years now.

    So, while I certainly appreciate your desire to prove your financial management prowess by attempting to engage me in a back and forth game of twenty questions intended to test my knowledge of financial management lingo, I would much rather understand the mathematics you used to come to your conclusion and exlaim that we are going to have a tax increase.

    I’m not the one making the claim. All you have to do is back it up with facts – but all of the facts. And, maybe you’re right and we are looking at a tax increase. If so, I will certainly work to keep it from happening.

  7. David,

    Just read your post about Lila Knight. LOL. You said, “Voters remember Ms. Knight’s statements: ‘I am not a politician’, yet she lost while running for political office.” Wait a minute…Didn’t you lose two elections?

    You make a great deal out of her not disclosing the name of her business, yet I recall you not disclosing the name of your businesses/former businesses when you ran for office. And, you ran as a “business man.” You also boasted of your MBA but never disclosed the institution that you got it from. Maybe transparency isn’t your cup of tea, either.

    You further claim that the exercising of her Constitutional right to petition her government and engage in political speech as a citizen somehow raises or lowers her stature to that of a politician. Yet, you do exactly the same things, however less effectively.

    I’m not sure if losing an election or writing letters to the editor makes one a “politician.” Nor am I willing to say that disclosing every last detail of one’s personal life makes him/her less than “transparent.” Though, I might suggest that there is more than a hint of hypocrisy in your being the proverbial “pot” to Lila Knight’s “kettle.”

    You’re the best… really.

    Todd

  8. Then a why don’t you ask questions instead of just making sophomoric comments? Better yet why don’t you answer a couple specific instead a speaking so general, you are becoming rather dull and wasting time.

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