In October we reported that the County may hold a bond election in November 2024 and ask the voters to issue up to $350 million in general obligation bonds, and then in early 2025 may issue an additional $150 million in certificates of obligation for “more essential projects” without voter authorization.
The first $150 million of new debt could be issued without impacting the current tax rate, because some older debt would be retired by the end of FY2024.
But adding another $350 million beyond that would increase our County tax by 3.5 cents, or $35 for each $100,000 in property valuation.
COUNTY TO HEAR NEW PRESENTATION ON FUTURE BONDING CAPACITY
You will not learn about this from our local media, which routinely fail to report on nine-figure debt issuances, so we are telling you.
According to the PowerPoint backup, the County now has $256,002,114 in outstanding debt on general obligation bonds, certificates of obligation, tax anticipation notes, and bank loans.
The advisors claim the County can issue up to $350 million in new debt next year without risking its bond rating of “Aa2” from S&P and “AA” from both Moody’s and Fitch.
They also claim that because average bond yields have dipped a half-point since October, that now is a good time to borrow hundreds of millions more.
SPEND! SPEND! SPEND!
In short, rather than allowing some of our current bond debt to retire without piling on new debt, potentially lowering our property tax, the County plans to burden us with hundreds of millions in new debt, including certificates of obligation, increasing our property tax.
This comes on the heels of the double-digit salary increases that the County Commissioners Court just gifted themselves (with Commissioner Holguin dissenting), plus the $100 million in new debt authorized for this fiscal year.
And now we are learning that UMC plans to build a new hospital on the Eastside, which will require a massive bond that will need approval from the same County Commissioners Court.
SPEAK AT PUBLIC COMMENT!
Please consider speaking at public comment tomorrow morning. The instructions are at the top of the County agenda.
Also, please write to the County Commissioners Court to tell them you oppose massive debt issuances, tax hikes, and especially certificates of obligation:
email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com