Sunday, June 4, 2023

Flower Mound issues $30.5 million in bonds to pay for road, park and utility projects

Flower Mound Town Hall, photo courtesy of the town of Flower Mound

On Monday night, the Flower Mound Town Council proved the song “Money Makes the World Go ‘Round” from the show “Cabaret” is accurate … especially when it comes to government funding.

Flower Mound Deputy Town Manager/CFO Debra Wallace presented the town’s notice of intent to issue its Certificates of Obligation, Series 2019, in the principal amount of $30,500,000 regarding Capital Improvements and Debt Issuance.

“We have an annual process that we follow each year,” said Wallace.

In August/September, the Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) budgets are presented and approved for projects and the funding sources.

The 2018-19 approved CIP budget was $51,792,000 for 32 general projects, including: 13 street; two traffic signal; four facility and nine park projects; as well as 18 utility projects– 13 water; two stormwater; and, five wastewater projects.

In October/November, the reimbursement resolution is required to award the projects.

Each spring, town staff reviews the projects to be funded by debt and make deferral recommendations and possible funding-source changes.

Then, in June/July, debt is issued, if needed.

Following her presentation, Wallace explained how the funding for items previously approved is decided in response to Mayor Pro Tem Sandeep Sharma’s questions.

Council member Jim Pierson added that he wasn’t understanding how the funding for projects is tracked and why issue Certificates of Obligation (COs) instead of holding bond elections.

“We’re spending money that someone else has approved,” said Pierson. “I’m really uncomfortable with that.”

He added that he got elected for his “why not pay-as-you-go” mentality about not issuing debt. He asked why issue COs, rather than General Obligation Bonds (GO Bonds) that people vote to approve or not.

“Bond elections aren’t that much [money] to have during a May [general municipal] election,” said Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos. “But, to hold one in November can cost the town $30,000 to $40,000 dollars.”

Finally, town financial consultant John Martin of Hilltop Securities came forward and gave a thumbnail tutorial on municipal money management.

He explained that issuing COs with a lower current interest rate is less impactful than going before the voters with GO Bonds. That approach is more conservative and one of the reasons for Flower Mound’s high rating.

Mayor Steve Dixon added that municipal finances are different than business and corporation financials.

“It isn’t like balancing your checkbook,” he said.

Eventually, Sharma moved to approve the item, which passed 3 to 1, with Pierson as the only nay. Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Claudio Forest was absent.

Also discussed during the council meeting was the recent discovery of a number of dockless electric scooters in town, similar to approximately 200 scooters dropped in Frisco.

The scooter riders use a credit card to activate the scooter for use as a mode of transportation “for that final mile” to get where a regular vehicle can’t go– such as from one end to the other of a corporate or college campus.

“But, these aren’t like electric wheelchairs, which are privately-owned, or a Segue, which gets returned to the original location,” said Town Attorney Bryn Meredith.

He said town staff asked him to research the options for regulating– or prohibiting completely– the scooters.

“My finding is essentially, we have full-discretion to regulate our rights-of-way,” said Meredith.

Considering that the town currently has no large corporation campus locations, plus both the North Central Texas College (NCTC) and Midwestern State University (MSU) campuses consist of single buildings with adjacent parking lots each, electric scooters seem unnecessary.

Mayor Steve Dixon said discussion on the item could be scheduled for a future strategic planning session.

Certificates of Obligation Series 2019

Street Projects:
ADA Transition Plan and Implementation – $500,000
FM 1171 at River Walk Drive Intersection Improvements – $600,000
Morriss Road Improvements – $125,000
Roadway Amenities – $90,000

Signal Projects:
FM 407 at Browning – Reconstruction – $300,000
Traffic Detection Rehabilitation – $125,000

Facility Projects:
Fire Station No. 1 Facility Upgrades – $150,000
Fire Station No. 7 and Apparatus (Wichita Trail) – $4,450,000
Gibson-Grant Log Cabin Reconstruction – $507,000

Water Projects:
FM 2499 12-Inch Water Line Phase I (Dixon to South of FM 1171) – $900,000
High Road Water Line Replacement Phase II – $350,000
Kirkpatrick Lane 12-Inch Water Line Phase II (Valley Ridge – FM 1171) – $700,000
Morriss Road Water Lines Phase I (Garden to Forest Vista) – $900,000
Pintail Pump Station (Auxiliary Power & Upgrades) – $730,000
Red Bud Point Water Service Relocation – $775,000

Wastewater Projects:
Upper Timber Creek Interceptor Phase III (FM 1171 to Hidden Forest Drive) – $ 1,700,000
Upper Timber Creek Interceptor Phase IV (Hidden Forest Drive to Oak Street Lift Station) – $3,350,000
Wastewater Treatment Plant Rehabilitation Phase V (Sludge, Holding and Thickening) – $11,000,000
Wastewater Treatment Plant Ultraviolet System Update – $2,750,000

Grand Total of Debt Issuance – $30,500,000

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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