BOND PROGRAM FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
On May 6, 2017, the San Antonio public approved six propositions for the City’s 2017-2022 Bond Program totaling $850 million and including 180 projects. With voter approval, TCI is ready to get to work with the design and construction industry to deliver the street, drainage, parks and facility projects.
How does the City propose to finance the Bond Program?
The City dedicates a portion of its property tax revenues to repay debt incurred for bond-funded improvements. However, the proposed Bond Program does not recommend a City property tax rate increase. The City plans to borrow the $850 million over five years, rather than all at once, allowing the Bond Program to be funded within the current City property tax rate based on current projections.
What can General Obligation Bonds be used for?
General Obligation Bonds allow the City to pay for major capital investments having a public purpose, such as streets, drainage, public safety facilities, flood control as well as quality of life enhancements related to libraries, parks, community recreation, cultural facilities and elimination of slum and blight . Bonds are sold to investors and the proceeds from the sale of these bonds are used to pay for capital projects. Bond funds cannot be used for everyday operating costs for programs such as softball leagues, classes at senior centers, police officers or fire fighters. Such operating expenses are paid for by annual revenue that support the City’s General Fund such as property tax revenue, sales tax revenue, CPS Energy revenue and fees for service.
Why do you issue bonds to pay for City projects rather than pay for projects with cash?
There are many planned and recommended large-scale projects throughout the City of San Antonio such as street and sidewalk improvements, new parks and community centers. Using bond financing to fund large-scale projects within the constraints that have produced the City’s “AAA” rating allows the annual City operating budget to be allocated toward annual and ongoing costs such as maintenance, personnel, operations and public service programs. By issuing bonds, we can invest in those projects more quickly and avoid deferred maintenance costs.
How are bond projects selected?
The projects in the 2017 Bond Program were vetted and approved by the community and City Council. City staff initially studied infrastructure needs throughout the community and developed a list of potential projects which were presented to five Citizen Bond Committees. Each committee consisted of two co-chairs appointed by the Mayor and 30 residents appointed by City Council (160 individual total). The Bond Committees were organized as follows: 1) Streets, Bridges & Sidewalks; 2) Drainage & Flood Control; 3) Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces; 4) Facility Improvements; and 5) Neighborhood Improvements. The entire process was overseen and guided by Bond Tri-Chairs. For the 2017 Bond, Mayor Taylor appointed Eddie Aldrete, Carri Baker and Darryl Byrd as Tri-Chairs. The Citizen Bond Committees held 25 meetings and participated in five tours from October 2016 to December 2016 to discuss potential projects and developed a list of recommended projects. The Committees submitted their list of recommended projects to the Mayor and City Council for consideration and projects were approved in January 2017 totaling $850 million.
How did the Citizen Bond Committees make decisions about projects?
The projects selected for the 2017-2022 Bond Program followed a set of guiding principles that reflect City Council and community priorities. Those guiding principles are:
- Aligning with SA Tomorrow, the City’s comprehensive growth and development plan
- Coordination with other public agencies, such as TxDOT, AAMPO, Bexar County, SAWS, CPS Energy, VIA, SARA, Port SA and Brooks City Base
- Increased connectivity
- Leverage funds for jointly-funded projects with other community organizations such as the YMCA, park conservancies, schools and universities
- Completing or making significant progress on projects already underway such as Hemisfair and Seeling Channel Drainage
- Investment in major transportation corridors
- Improving and supporting Vision Zero (the program designed to eliminate deaths on our roadways)
- Complete streets (designed to support all roadway users)
- Environmental sustainability
- Operating & maintenance budget impact
- Rough proportionality for projects throughout San Antonio, not just in one area
How can residents learn more about the City’s proposed Bond Program?
Residents can view all related Bond Program related information and material on the City’s web site at: http://www.sanantonio.gov/2017Bond.aspx.