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

December 3rd, 2008
Kyle hires new firm for interstate loan advise

By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large

KYLE – The Kyle City Council agreed Tuesday night to hire a new firm for facilitating a State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan for Interstate-35 improvements, believing that working with the new firm would most closely approximate working with the old firm.

The council voted unanimously to hire Specialized Public Finance, Inc., to advise on the $11 million SIB loan. One of the new company’s principals, Garry Kimball, has long worked with the city on behalf of First Southwest, which has handled the city’s bond consulting for the last ten years.

The new firm also includes Dan Wegmiller, who is Hays County’s bond advisor and who also formerly worked for First Southwest. Kimball and Wegmiller are the new company’s managing directors.

Kyle finance director Charles Cunningham told the council he would feel more “comfort” with Specialized Public Finance, as Kimball has long been involved with the city. Cunningham said he recently met with financial advisors from First Southwest and was unfamiliar with them.

Cunningham added that the new firm will charge a lower rate – 0.75 percent of the transaction, as opposed to the one percent charged by First Southwest.

The city will use the SIB loan to pay for its share of Phase I Interstate-35 improvements, which includes the reconstruction of the CR 210 overpass, the reconfiguration of I-35 access roads from two-way to one-way between CR 210 and Kyle Parkway and the installation of new entrance and exit ramps along that stretch of I-35.

In addition to hiring Specialized Public Finance, the city council also passed a resolution to apply for the SIB loan.

A $207 million countywide road bond, approved by voters on Nov. 4, includes $69 million of improvements in Kyle. The city will pay for $16 million towards that work, including another $3 million on the second phase of I-35 improvements and $2 million for Dacy Lane improvements.

The council also unanimously approved a resolution enabling Carlos Colina-Vargas to apply for a $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) on behalf of the city. The application would cost the city nothing, though Vargas would be paid to administrate the program if the grant is approved.

The funds would be used to rehabilitate houses for qualifying low and moderate income homeowners. The federal government is providing $88 million in CDBG money for Texas in 2009-2010. The city is applying for the funds through the state’s Office of Rural Community Affairs.

The city agreed to apply without seeing a completed application. The application deadline is Dec. 12 and the council doesn’t have another regularly scheduled meeting until Dec. 16. However, the councilmembers will receive the application individually before it is submitted.

Councilmembers also saw a conceptual plan for a 300-lot development on 73 acres to be located on the north side of Burleson Road adjacent to Spring Branch subdivision and just west of a Union Pacific railroad crossing. The project, formerly called The Orchard at Plum Creek, now is called Creekside Village.

The project did not thoroughly excite councilmembers, who worried about the density in combination with ingress and egress so close to railroad tracks. At a ballpark average of 2.1 cars per household, it figures that well more than 1,000 the development will have to handle well more than 1,000 car trips in and out every day.

“That’s a real big concern and I don’t see any way to address it,” Kyle Mayor Miguel Gonzalez said.

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