The San Marcos City Council approved $49 million in bonds last week.
By ED MIHALKANIN
The San Marcos City Council unanimously approved bonds totaling more than $49 million last week. The debt will fund improvements for streets, wastewater, water, and drainage projects throughout the city.
Dan Wegmiller, Managing Director of Specialized Public Finance, said Standard & Poor (S&P) assigned a “AA-“ long term rating and stable outlook to San Marcos. S&P based its rating on the city’s direct access to both the Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas, “strong historical assessed valuation,” and “strong financial performance.” S&P categorized San Marcos financial management practices as strong.
The city’s debt service ratio is 62 percent and the council’s goal is to reduce it to 55, the council still issued about $29 million in new debt. The rest is a refinancing of old debt to take advantage of better rates.
The largest bond package approved was a certificate of obligation package totaling $24.5 million. The main categories identified by the city staff for spending these funds are streets ($6.67 million), wastewater ($5,427 million), Victory Gardens ($5,337 million), drainage ($4.957 million), water ($4.481 million), and parks and public buildings ($2.062 million).
The largest street projects include a Craddick Street extension ($2.438 million), Rio Vista reconstruction ($1.162 million), and Victory Gardens reconstruction ($1.050 million). The Victory Gardens street reconstruction also is listed as a project of this bond in the Victory Gardens category by the city staff.
The most costly wastewater projects include at $1.1649 million for Eastside Willow Creek to connect existing lines to interceptors. Another $990,000 would replace lines in Roosevelt, Patton, and Mitchell Streets, $800.000 would install a new line for Purgatory Creek, and $609,000 would pay for a sanitary sewer evaluation study.
In the Victory Gardens section, $3.450 million is identified for storm sewer installation. Another $1.05 million is identified for street reconstruction, with $747,5000 is assigned to the neighborhood to replace failing mains.
Under the category of water projects, the most expensive are the installation of a main from Spring Lake to Comanche ($1.279 million), replacement of mains in Victory Gardens ($747,000), $460,000 for a Post Road main.
Finally, for parks projects for this bond, $1.050 million will be used to construct ten full-sized soccer fields and playgrounds along the Blanco River and $400,000 will be used to enhance Purgatory Creek Preserve.
A second bond issue unanimously approved by the council on Tuesday was at $4.495 million in general obligation bonds, which is the final part of the bonds approved by the voters in the 2005 bond election. Under the category of streets, the largest projects are $1.1 million to construct new turn lanes at East Hopkins Street and Thorpe Lane, plus $880,000 for a railroad overpass on Aquarena Springs, $840,000 for multiple bike and pedestrian projects and $750,000 for Victory Gardens reconstruction. This project is listed separately under Victory Gardens category for this bond.
The council also unanimously approved two additional bond packages to take advantage of lower interest. The council approved at $12.020 million to refinance some water and wastewater debt and approved at $9.745 million to refinance streets, drainage, and general operations debt.