You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

San Marcos residents to vote on $31.7 million bond package


In just a couple of weeks, San Marcos voters will decide whether to support all or part of a$31.7 million bond package, the city’s first bond referendum in more than a decade.

The package on the May 6 ballot has $17.2 million for public safety improvements and $14.5 million for a library expansion. The last time the city held a bond referendum was in 2005 for transportation projects.

If both propositions are approved, the city’s tax rate would increase by 8.37 cents per $100 of valuation, adding about $126 to the tax bill for the average-valued San Marcos home, valued at $150,000.

City officials have said the improvements the bonds would support are necessary to keep up with the needs of a city that consistentlyranks among the fastest-growing in the nation.

Public safety proposition

The public safety portion of the bond package would fund renovations of the city’s 23-year-old Police Department building for $5.5 million and relocation of Fire Station No. 2 for $5.2 million, as well as the construction of a new fire station for $4.5 million and a fire training field for $2 million.

The renovations to the police headquarters would include the addition of security and perimeter fencing, parking lot improvements, replacement of HVAC equipment, creation of a SWAT storage facility and an expansion to the 911 center.

During the storms last week, for instance, Assistant Chief Bob Klett said flooding in the parking lot prevented him from getting inside the station because of poor drainage. If the bond proposal doesn’t pass, drainage improvements and other urgent fixes will have to be made using other funding, he said.

Under the proposal, Fire Station No. 2 would be moved to a location officials say is more efficient at Wonder World Drive and RM 12, near the high-endLa Cima development.

And the proposed fire training field would allow firefighters to train in more realistic “live fire” simulations in which actual fire or smoke is used.

When new firefighters are hired, they are taken to a fire training facility in Buda, said Fire Chief Les Stephens. But after that, firefighters aren’t able to receive additional training, as they can’t be taken out of San Marcos in case an emergency occurs.

“It’s a high-risk, low-frequency situation,” Stephens said. “They need the opportunity to practice. You don’t want to show up on game day and not have had an opportunity to practice.”

Library proposition

The second half of the bond package consists of $14.5 million for a 29,000-square-foot expansion of the San Marcos Public Library. Library Director Diane Insley said the 22-year-old facility was built to hold 150,000 items. The library’s collection hit that mark four years ago and now is home to 165,000 items.

The building is one open space that could use divisions to reduce noise and designate more dedicated areas, she said.

“We probably do more programming than any library our size in the state,” Insley said.

Rachel Sanborn, president of Friends of the San Marcos Public Library, a nonprofit that raises money for the library, said if the bond proposal passes, the organization has pledged to give $500,000 toward “interior” purchases, such as books and furniture, which would not be covered by the bonds.

In Tuesday’s storms, the librarysuffered rain damage, and 18 computers were destroyed, though books were saved.

Sanborn said the library plays an integral role in providing job search and professional services for thousands of people, including low-income residents, in addition to programming for children, families and adults. The bonds will ensure those programs continue and expand, she said.

“It’s one of those things that we can’t let pass or slide for another 10 years,” Sanborn said. “This is the time to do it, while we’re anticipating a larger population growth.”

Range of views

Some residents reject the idea of a 16 percent jump in the tax rate, including Sam Brannon, a member of the Save Hays political action committee, which opposed theHays County bonds approved by voters last fall. Brannon alsounsuccessfully ranforSan Marcos mayor last November.

Brannon said even without rate increases, taxes are going up because ofrising property values.On top of that, he said he thinks the city overuses certificates of obligation — bonds that don’t require voter approval.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation for many as the cost of living in San Marcos continues to soar,” he said.

Others, such as San Marcos resident Jennifer Fischer, say the need for the improvements outweighs any concern about tax impact. Fischer said she supports the library proposal because she wants to see improvements such as the partitioning of the library by age group and a new drive-up drop box for returning books.

“It’s 2017, and we, along with other patrons, have been waiting years for this,” Fischer said. “My family will continue to be regulars, but I ask that this project come to fruition while my wee ones can still enjoy all it will have to offer.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Texas Senate revives abortion insurance measure
Texas Senate revives abortion insurance measure

Late Monday, the Texas Senate revived a stalled abortion measure by adding it as an amendment to a bill on insurance information for doctors. House Bill 3124 was amended to add language from Senate Bill 20, which would ban abortion coverage in private insurance plans as well as plans offered to state employees and participants in the Affordable Care...
No UT students currently in Manchester through university programs, officials confirm
No UT students currently in Manchester through university programs, officials confirm

No University of Texas students are currently on official university travel in Manchester, England, where an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert killed 19 people and injured about 50 others, university officials confirmed. Still, the school’s international office is in the process of contacting students currently or soon to be...
Judges: Does Supreme Court ruling affect Texas districts?
Judges: Does Supreme Court ruling affect Texas districts?

Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two North Carolina congressional districts because of their effect on African-American voters, the first impact was felt in Texas. Three federal judges, overseeing a legal challenge to Texas districts adopted in 2013, sent an order Monday to lawyers on both sides seeking information about how the ruling...
Texas Digest: Cop shooter gets 50 years

COURTS Cop shooter gets 50 years in prison A man charged with the nonfatal shooting of a Houston-area police officer in the chest and face three years ago during a traffic stop has been sentenced to 50 years in prison. Sergio Francisco Rodriguez pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated assault of a public servant. He’s the last of three men charged...
MANCHESTER ATTACK: Gov. Greg Abbott calls explosion at Ariana Grande concert ‘terror attack,’ asks for prayers for victims 
MANCHESTER ATTACK: Gov. Greg Abbott calls explosion at Ariana Grande concert ‘terror attack,’ asks for prayers for victims 

Gov. Greg Abbott, reacting to what’s being described as an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in which 19 people have been confirmed dead and around 50 were injured, asked his followers on Twitter to “send prayers for the terror victims.” Greater Manchester Police have said the explosion is being treated...
More Stories