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College Station City Council looks at next steps for YMCA, approve $62 million bond sale for city-wide improvements

Mayor Karl Mooney says having a recreation center in College Station is an important piece as the city grows.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 10:52 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The College Station City Council met Thursday night to hear and vote on agenda items including the next steps for adding a YMCA, and approving more than $62 million worth of capital improvements.

Parks Director Steve Wright presented information about feasibility studies done by the city last year. He said there were 600 telephone interviews of randomly selected households in Brazos County, and 21% of those who answered said they were already affiliated with a fitness center.

Wright said three possible locations were proposed: near Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, near Fire Station 6 on University Drive and Tarrow Street, and near Baylor Scott & White Hospital off Rock Prairie Road. According to the responses, the Central Park and Fire Station 6 locations were most highly preferred.

Councilman John Crompton voiced concerns about the cost of this project, while Mayor Karl Mooney says the city is missing something like the YMCA.

“In most communities our size, there is a recreation center,” said Mooney. “Now, whether or not that is run by the YMCA, that is another situation entirely. First, we need to wrap our heads around the idea that we are going to create a recreation center that is in the best interest of our citizens.”

Both Mooney and Councilwoman Linda Harvell voiced interest in bringing this project to a vote for citizens.

Later in the meeting, council approved an ordinance authorizing a bond sale of $62,443,000 in certificates of obligation.

Mary Ellen Leonard, Director of Fiscal Services for the City of College Station, says these bonds were already approved by council last year. The money would be put towards capital projects, including roadwork, the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Center expansion, and updates to water towers.

Leonard says the cost of these projects is very expensive, and in order to keep up with the demand of the city, the city has to go into debt to make it happen. These certificates of obligation will be paid off over a 20 year period by tax payers.

“As you continue to grow, obviously there is more and more use of those roads,” said Leonard. “The one thing about debt, when you do debt from a municipal side, it is the people who will be using the road and the water in the future that actually pay for that debt. Because the debt is 20 years, it will be the people who are here five, ten, fifteen years from now as the city grows that actually are paying for the debt.”

Leonard says there will be no change for both property owners and rate payers when it comes to the tax rate at this time.

“Property owners are going to have to pay the same amount per 100 in their tax rate for the debt that they would have, so there is no change, no increase in the debt side to issue that,” said Leonard. “For rate payers, those rates we have already calculated and determined how much we need to issue to this debt. As of right now, we do not believe those rates would be going up.”

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