Kyle sets time to discuss funding options for police building

Goals of an improved Kyle Police Department headquarters could now hinge on a possible property tax rate increase election.

City leaders Saturday postponed further discussion on the matter until they determine where they might be financially and whether such a move is feasible. 

Kyle City Council members discussed that topic and more during their July 27 budget meeting. Talks lasted four hours with the police department item tabled after city council members instructed city staff to draft funding plans to be presented in August.

The potential tax rate increase comes as a result of Kyle nearing its bond capacity limit. The city currently has $80.5 million in debt obligations, according to a bond debt analysis study recorded in December 2018. By 2038, the city will have paid $132,903,505 in total principal and interest payments with annual installments to the final date.

Kyle City Manager Scott Sellers said the city’s ability to take out more bonds without increasing the tax rate might increase in the next two to three years as Kyle’s property value and population increase. However, Kyle won’t have any new bond capacity until Fiscal Year 2021.

An alternate option includes the possibility of raising the property tax rate in order to qualify for additional bond capacity in Fiscal Year 2020.

Discussion on the police headquarters came as Sellers and city leaders Saturday also discussed projects that are on the immediate horizon.    

Those projects include paying off $10 million for the city’s wastewater treatment plant expansion, a project Sellers said cannot wait. The other major project is the city’s obligation to the Alliance Regional Water Authority (ARWA). The project costs $47.4 million, according to analysis provided by the city.

“We want our citizens to know we care about the police department and its needs, but we are still looking into how to do it all,” Sellers said.

Facility expansion for Kyle’s police department isn’t a new issue. According to council members, the police department’s expansion was up for a citywide vote in recent years but failed. Despite the lack of support at that time, residents have shown support of the project at recent meetings.

The city’s property tax rate currently is $0.5416 per $100 in value.

Kyle’s proposed FY 2020 budget does not call for an increase at this time. According to recently enacted state law, any property tax rate increase beyond 3.5% from the previous fiscal year would have to go to the voters. A 3.5% overall tax rate increase at current property valuation would mean a tax rate of $.5606.

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