Port Aransas voters will have the chance to decide if 16 streets, many of which are residential, get upgrades during a bond election Nov. 8.
The City Council called for the election during its regular meeting Aug. 18 to put a $6.5 million street and drainage bond proposal before voters.
Ideally, a bond that would upgrade streets and drainage systems should be passed every four to six years to keep up with maintenance, City Manager David Parsons said.
“Every 20 years, every street in the city has to be redone … Cities have to be proactive,” he said. “If you defer maintenance, and you go 15 years without doing any streets, all of a sudden 60 percent of your streets are in bad shape, and then it’s too big of a bond.”
If passed by voters, the bond would fund improvements to portions of Ross Avenue, Church Street, Brundrett Avenue, White Avenue, Whispering Sands Street, Eskridge Street, Pullin Street, Oleander Street, Tarrant Avenue, Oaks Avenue, Trojan Street, Ninth Street, Avenue I, Alister Street, Port Street and Beach Access Road 1A.
The proposed improvements would encompass streets, drainage systems, sidewalks, landscaping, signs, traffic signals, acquiring right-of-way and public art installation.
The drainage part of the bond would include expanding some drainage systems in the city as well as adding new ones.
“As you start to build out, your drainage changes. You get more impervious surfaces, (and) your runoff is continually evolving in a city,” Parsons said. “The need for additional drainage is going to continue to grow.”
The bond would be paid back over 15-years with property tax revenue and roadway impact fees, Parsons said. The city is still paying on the last election bond, which was a 15-year note. Voters passed a $4.38 million street and drainage bond in 2016. Projects for that bond were finished in 2018.
“As a bond phases out, and you pay it off, that creates bonding capacity to redo another one,” Parsons said. “So (as) you phase out the old one, you replace it with a new one. So if you do it that way, what (taxes) you’re hitting the citizen with, stay pretty much constant.”
The proposed bond would not affect the city’s property tax rate. The City Council approved a tax rate of is 22.5781 cents per $100 valuation for fiscal year 2023 during a special meeting Thursday, Sept. 8. The new rate is a decrease of about two cents from the prior year’s rate.