Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
Message from the Mayor: Bond Election 2010
By Brian Loughmiller, McKinney Mayor
City Council has received many questions regarding the financial condition of the city and how it will be affected by the bond election this year. People have asked how McKinney can have a bond election and promise that taxes will not increase. For the answer, I would point to the past seven years when I have been elected to McKinney City Council either as a council member or as Mayor. You will see that during that time, City Council reduced the tax rate three out of the first four years and held the tax rate flat the remainder of that period.
All of this was accomplished while holding a bond election in 2006 approved by voters at $91.5 million, substantially more than the current initiative set at $51.35 million. Because we do not issue new debt without a combination of retiring existing debt from prior elections and ensuring substantial excess capacity, we establish policies that will not allow for an increase in the tax rate even when revenues are down. For this coming budget year, we have instructed the City Manager to bring forth a budget that will not increase the tax rate and will not negatively impact our reserves. The City of McKinney has achieved an extremely strong AA+ bond rating because of our conservative, award-winning financial policies.
In addition, the projects on the ballot are capital projects that will have little or no impact on our operations budget for the coming five year period. It is important to know that our Capital Improvement Project list covers five years of projects, many of which are unfunded road projects for the current year but are on the list because they will be funded in future years over time. For some of those projects, we receive matching funds from the county and the state or from funds generated from the 121 toll road. The Parks, Recreation and Open Space projects on the ballot are those our community has deemed important to our overall quality of life in McKinney.
A final important factor is that costs of construction and bond rates are at an all time low. One most recent road project was completed with a savings of 50% below the original bid due to a decrease in these costs. The projects being considered already exist in our master plan and are need for our infrastructure. Our desire is to take advantage of the cost savings from lower construction costs during this time.
Your City Council remains firm in their policy to not increase the tax rate when assessing the budgetary needs of the city. Based on projections we have received on revenues for next year, we have reiterated this position to the City Manager and executive staff. As voters, I encourage you to educate yourself on the issues before you in this Bond Initiative. You can do so knowing that as your Mayor and based on consensus of Council, we have continued to ask our management to budget within our means and without any increase in the tax rate.