Selma eyes bonds to cover costs of expansion, water system update
The City of Selma released plans to expand its administrative office complex on Corporate Drive, construct a new public works building and update its water system during its May 9 city council meeting.
The city will pursue certificates of obligation bonds to cover the $6.2 million price tag — $3.12 million for the public works building, $1.38 for the city hall expansion, and $1.69 million for the water system GIS database and installation of hundreds of backflow prevention meters.
The proposed bonds would be funded by a combination of property taxes and water user fees.
“Certificates of obligation bonds can affect the tax rate,” said City Manager Johnny Casias. “But the city does not expect any bonds proposed for the projects … to significantly impact the city’s ad valorem tax rate, which is the lowest property tax rate in the Northeast San Antonio corridor.”
The city will use a water rate increase to cover some of the cost. An increase of $1.29 per month on residential users and $20.31 on commercial users will raise revenue toward the cost of the projects.
Casias said August is the earliest that the rate changes would occur, once city council approves the certificate of obligations bonds.
The city hall addition will add 2,100 square feet to the existing structure, which occupies 8,890 square feet and was built in 2003. The expansion will include room for about six offices that will house five employees from its development services and permits department. Those employees currently work out of the Selma Stage Stop Visitor’s Center on Interstate 35.
The new 6,846 square-foot public works building will be located on the city’s 2.1-acre water site off Lookout Road.
“Public works is the oldest building on our (Corporate Drive) campus, and the building is literally falling apart,” Casias said, who presented a slide show of the building’s structural issues to council.
The public works building will be demolished, he said, leaving room for more parking between city hall and the Selma police station.
“One advantage of having a new public works building will obviously be a newer, safer building that will no longer leak, or require constant repairs in order to remain usable,” the city manager said. “Another advantage is that there will be enough room to house all of the public works equipment in one central location, to eliminate public works staff going to different sites in order to get items needed to perform necessary tasks.”
The $1.69 million water system infrastructure update will include the purchase of a new GIS database system for reading, logging and tracking water use. The city will also install 145 new customer water meters that do not have backflow prevention devices on them.
The city has been considering the projects for over a year. While the city’s reserve fund has enough funding for six months of operation, the cost of the three improvements is more than what is in the unassigned fund balance.
And with three general obligation bond projects already being supported by public funds — property tax, the city shied away from going that route again.
“On the general fund side, we believe the project can get done without having to increase your tax rate,” said Andrew Friedman, managing director of SAMCO Capital.