San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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August 27th, 2008
County asks voters to ok $207 million road package

Managing Editor

Setting up another showdown over transportation issues, Hays County commissioners on Tuesday voted to ask for taxpayer approval to sell $207 million in general obligation bonds to fund road improvements officials say are critical to the quickly growing county.

The vote is all but certainly Hays County’s last chance to secure up to $133 million in state funds as reimbursement for widening Farm-to-Market Road 1626 between 967 and the Travis County line; building the first three-mile segment of Farm-to-Market Road 110, a planned eastern loop around San Marcos; and improving segments of U.S. 290 near Dripping Springs and Interstate 35 in Kyle.

The state-funded portion of the package does not include widening of Ranch Road 12 to four- and five-lanes between San Marcos and Wimberley, a controversial proposal blamed in large part for voters’ rejection in May 2007 of an otherwise identical package. The Texas Department of Transportation deal has been in limbo for nearly a year and a half since the failed bond issues while the commissioners court worked through the unwieldy process of rebuilding the package.

In addition to those roads, this year’s proposal includes $55 million in other projects including, in the San Marcos area, widening Hunter Road between Wonder World Drive and Bishop Street and widening Post Road from the city limits to Yarrington Road.

If it is approved, the bond package could add a little more than 4 cents to the county tax rate, projections based on what officials said were highly conservative assumptions. The tax increase would translate to an additional $41.52 per year for a $100,000 home or $83.04 per year for the owner of a $200,000 home.

Also on the Nov. 4 ballot, voters will decide whether to authorize the county’s law enforcement officers — sheriff’s and constable’s deputies — to enter into collective bargaining over wage and workplace issues. Advocates of the measure collected 1,597 petition signatures asking for the measure, elections administrator Joyce Cowan said.

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