Mission discusses potential bond election and certificates of obligation in workshop
MISSION – A bond election of $14.2 million, along with $22 million for Certificates of Obligation, was discussed today over Zoom.
The Mission city council met this morning to discuss the potential for Certificates of Obligation and a bond election for the upcoming year. City staff and Dusty Traylor, a financial consultant for Mission, presented information about grant funding, how the funds will be allocated and the impact on the tax rate.
Grants Administrator Michael Elizalde presented on the nearly $25 million in grants the city has applied for. The funding would be directed toward flood mitigation and drainage projects, targeted in the areas Mission sees the most flooding in when heavy rains pass through the county.
City Manager Randy Perez said their goal was to get as much funding as possible from grants before using money from Certificates of Obligation. Approximately half of the 18 proposed drainage projects fall under grant applications that have already been submitted.
Other than drainage, projects like street overlays, bridge repairs and facility improvements (including for city hall, parks and aquatics) were proposed to fall under the Certificates. According to Mayor Armando O’caña, there are leaks coming in all over city hall, and every time it rains his office alone has two.
Traylor and Perez presented potential uses for $30 million for Certificates of Obligation, which would raise the tax rate by about 1.56 cents per $100 valuation if the city contributed $500,000 annually to the debt service from the drainage fund. At $30 million, the funds can be approved by the council without an election.
City council members Norie Gonzalez Garza and Beto Vela said they would be more comfortable focusing on drainage and street improvements, and limit the Certificates of Obligation to $20 million or $22 million, to minimize an increase in the tax rate.
Excess funds that are not used from the Certificates of Obligation will go back toward paying off the city’s debt service. Mayor Pro-Tem Jessica Ortega and council member Ruben Plata said they would at least like to consider the city hall roof project, to ensure the problem does not get worse.
Council asked Traylor how often they could pass Certificates of Obligation, and he said that there is no limit. Gonzalez Garza and Vela said they would prefer to keep the amount at $22 million, see how it goes, and look into additional Certificates of Obligation in one year to address the other issues.
Five items were proposed for a potential bond election. The bond election would total at $14.2 million, as presented to the council today, but Perez said any additions or changes requested by the council could be taken into account.
The bond election would cover projects like a Boys & Girls Club Facility on the West side of Mission ($5 million), a swimming pool on the West side of Mission ($3 million), the relocation of Fire Station No. 2 ($3.5 million), the relocation or creation of the animal shelter ($1.5 million), a traffic signal on Conway and 28th St. ($200,000) and a water re-use line ($1 million).
Ortega requested that council take a group trip to the streets in need of repair, to see how improvements will impact and benefit Mission residents. Council and the mayor agreed with the idea, and they plan to take a group tour led by City Engineer J.P. Terrazas to see the conditions.
The Mission leaders need to be more responsible than to simply raise taxes to Mission taxpayers. We already pay all kinds of taxes, the rates and reappraisals keep rising and now you want to charge more ?? It does not matter that legally you can issue certificates of obligation, what matters is that you OWE fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers !
You need to look at ALL avenues BEFORE simply dipping into taxpayers’ pockets.