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Bryan City Council approves $73 million in bonds for Regional Park and other items

(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 4:29 PM CST
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The Bryan City Council is looking at a plan to help pay for their new Regional Park Tuesday night.

They want to take on debt for the next 30 years to help pay for it.

At Tuesday's meeting, the council approved borrowing $73 million dollars for capital improvement projects this coming year.

The city's Chief Financial Officer told KBTX:

$59 million dollars of it would be for the Regional Park.

$12 million is for streets and drainage which would be financed over a 25 year period.

$900,000 for a new fire truck would be financed for ten years.

"Part of the borrowing strategy is that we don’t try to go to the market too many times. We try to bundle them when we can because we save on the cost of issuance," said Joe Hegwood, Bryan's Chief Financial Officer.

Joggers and walkers can be found regularly at the former Bryan Municipal Golf Course.

The city continues to move forward with a multi-year plan to turn the greenspace into a regional park.

For funding, they want to take on certificates of obligation.

"They're doing it by essentially putting the citizens in debt for decades with the obligation, the debt obligation," said Jack Miller, who lives by the park.

Miller is concerned about the costs and impact on his neighborhood.

"I would rather that my taxes that go to the city go to improvements in the city infrastructure," Miller said. "We've been complaining about it for years. We have had people come to the city council asking that they work on the roads, improve the drainage, do maintenance and upkeep of existing parks."

Others like new resident Jaron Pearce think the millions of dollars to be spent will be worth it.

"It will cost a lot of money. I mean my old high school spent $8 million dollars, and it's a 2-A school, on a football field," said Pearce. So when it comes to stuff that, I feel like if you're going to put money towards something, a park is a way more of a need than anything else other than like usual traffic things."

KBTX asked Bryan's CFO why they chose the Certificates of Obligation method.

"You know it depends on what council wants," said Hegwood. "I mean we have issued CO's as long as I've been here we've not issued a general obligation bond and the council is comfortable with that and so that's basically the process."

Hegwood also said the tax rate shouldn't go up and he expects that to be the case for the coming years for this project. He said the city is paying down other debt.

"As long as your value stays the same it will have no effect on what you paid... If their appraisal happens to go up yeah their total dollars would go up even though the tax rate stays the same," said Hegwood.

Miller plans to attend the meeting and see what's next for the regional park process.

"Well I guess mainly so the city council knows that people are still interested and we're still keeping an eye on them," Miller said.

If approved, the city would plan to issue the bonds by February.

We'll keep you posted on what the council decides.

The council is also considering issuing requests for proposals to see how much it will cost to have an organization provide advising and management for the new park.

City staff recommended a single request for qualifications proposal be turned down.

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