Parker County commissioners and officials discussed the possibility of issuing a tax note to fund capital projects at Monday’s regular commissioners court meeting.
A tax note is issued by a municipal government to finance an immediate project that will be repaid with future tax collections.
Some of the county capital projects include the Parker County Courthouse chiller, the East Parker County Annex and County Court at Law 2 and courthouse interior. The total cost of the capital projects is estimated at $5.6 million at this time.
“The repayment period can’t exceed seven years from the date of issuance and this time of year is ideal because it ties well to the actual seven-year period,” George Williford, financial advisor with Hilltop Securities, said. “We ran scenarios in a range of $6 million to $7.5 million. A $6 million [note] would have a debt service projected at a little around $980,000 per year — hopefully, that will be a high number. A $6.5 million would have an annual repayment or debt service around $1,060,000 and a $7 million project size would have around $1,141,000, and then $7.5 million would have an annual debt service around $1,220,000.”
Williford said, without including the projected growth and available funds data, the $6 million tax note would have a tax impact just under seven-tenths of a penny.
“There is some available surplus debt service funds that can be applied toward this,” Williford said. “So this issue may not require a tax increase — it’s all a matter of value and how many dollars are used.”
County Purchasing Agent Kim Rivas broke down some of the expenses for the capital projects.
“The expenses [for the chiller] that were not budgeted in the regular budget right now are estimated at about $1.2 million — the actual piece of equipment is estimated around $1 million and then we’ve got relocation costs.”
Parker County Judge Pat Deen said they have estimated the East Parker County Annex at $3.7 million.
“I think that number is on the high side and that’s as good as we’re going to get in terms of estimating a cost on it,” Deen said. “I think that’s a good number as long as we don’t underestimate it.”
County Auditor Brianna Fowler said they can take some time to go over the numbers.
“I would say we not take any action today on this, but really work through the numbers a little bit more just to make sure we’re good with what they are,” Fowler said. “I think it would be better to put work into making sure how much we think some of these projects are going to cost because some of these may be rougher estimates.”
Deen said the projects are necessary for the county and will be a savings in the future.
“This is a seven-year note and we’ll take care of this in seven years, but it is a challenging task, but it’s a need. This is something that needs to happen and we need to continue and over the course of this, we’ll be saving the county significant money,” Deen said. “Nobody wants debt and this is probably not the end of it with future transportation costs, but this is something that’s necessary to maintain infrastructure.”
Future discussions and possible action about the tax note will take place at a future county commissioners court meeting.