DALLAS — The size of Dallas' November general obligation bond referendum will be $42 million more than expected due to increases in the city's property tax base, city manager Mary Suhm told the Dallas City Council at Wednesday's briefing session.
The bond proposal going to voters Nov. 6 had been expected to total $500 million without a tax increase when the council began considering a 2012 bond vote late last year. Then in April the amount that could be issued without a tax hike was set at $600 million.
"We're able to go up again a little bit because the property values went up a little bit," Suhm said.
A report late last month from the Dallas Central Appraisal District raised the city's 2012 tax base by about 2% to $79 billion. The total assessed tax base includes $35.9 billion of residential property, $30.7 billion of commercial valuations and $12.3 billion of business personal property.
Suhm urged council members to provide their recommendations on how to allocate the proceeds from additional capacity by Friday. The council is scheduled to vote on the election ordinance at its Aug. 15 meeting. If voters approve the GO bonds, Dallas plans to issue the new debt as 20-year bonds with level principal payments.
Dallas has $1.66 billion of outstanding GO debt rated Aa1 by Standard & Poor's and AA-plus by Moody's Investors Service. Other outstanding debt includes $1.8 billion of water utility revenue bonds and $480 million of Build America Bonds supported by revenues and taxes from a convention center hotel.
Voters approved $1.35 billion of GO bonds in 2006. The list of projects to be financed with the proposed $600 million of proceeds includes $323.8 million of drainage and flood control facilities, $221.2 million of street and transportation work, and $55 million for economic development in southern Dallas and transportation oriented development across the city.
Assistant city manager Jill Davis said heavy rains often cause flooding in areas of east Dallas where creeks were channelized and paved over many years ago. Solving that will require $218.6 million of the $323.8 million of proceeds allocated to flood control public works, she said.
A new pump station to move flood water over existing levees into the Trinity River will cost $91.7 million. There is also $88.7 million of street reconstruction and resurfacing, $34 million for infrastructure associated with the West Dallas Gateway park area near downtown, and $15 million of alley restoration.
The $55 million of proceeds earmarked for economic development will finance land acquisition, demolition of existing structures, and the design and construction of streets and other infrastructure.