DALLAS — Most of the proceeds from a November general obligation election in Corpus Christi, Texas, should be devoted to street maintenance, city manager Ron Olson said Tuesday at a City Council workshop.
Olson recommended a $55 million bond package, with $45 million allocated to streets over the next three years. The proposal also would provide $5 million for public facility upgrades and $5 million for parks projects.
The city should hold a GO bond election every three years, and $15 million a year should go to the street effort, he said.
Corpus Christ is currently on a four-year bond election cycle. Voters approved $95 million of GOs in 2004 and $135 million in 2008. The 2008 bond package devoted $105 million to street work.
Corpus Christi’s $354 million of outstanding GO debt is rated Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service and AA-minus by Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
The City Council must adopt an election ordinance by Aug. 14 to put the measure on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The council was given the option of a larger bond package that would provide $5.4 million for public facilities, $11 million for parks, $9 million for economic development efforts and $60 million for the city’s participation in a planned water park on Corpus Christi Bay.
Olson said the staff supported a $55 million bond package, which he said could be supported without an increase in the city’s property tax rate of $5.71 per $1,000 of assessed value.
He recommended a 10-year program of street repairs, with at least $15 million a year devoted to the effort. “We will have more capacity in three years as existing debt is paid off,” Olson said. “This is an investment in our civic infrastructure.”
The entire $55 million should be put onto the ballot as a single proposition, Olson said. “If we had more than $55 million, it’s likely that the critical projects would not be approved,” he said. “In our promotional materials, we need to make it clear to voters that the items on the ballot will not require a tax increase.”
Pete Anaya, director of planning and environmental services for the city, said the street maintenance budget is not sufficient for more than minor repairs on more than 1,200 miles of streets, about half of which need major repairs or replacement. It would cost $967 million to bring the streets to an acceptable level, he said.
A study by local engineers the council got in January said the city should spend $55 million a year on street programs.
Councilman Mark Scott said he favored bond elections every two years, of $55 million each, with the proceeds dedicated to street maintenance. “At this rate [$15 million a year], it would take 65 years to complete the work,” he said.