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San Antonio Voters Pass Record $596 Million in Bonds

San Antonio won authority to borrow a record $596 million from the municipal-bond market in Texas elections that put $1.8 billion in debt issues before voters.

The state’s second-largest city topped all others in the amount requested from voters in municipalities and school districts across Texas in the May 12 polling, according to Strategic Partnerships, an Austin consulting firm.

In five separate items, San Antonio voters passed debt issues for bridges and streets; drainage and flood control; parks and public buildings. The largest amount, $337.4 million, will cover roadwork. Approval margins ranged from 62 to 73 percent, according to a municipal website. With 1.3 million residents, San Antonio trails only Houston, with 2.1 million, among Texas communities, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

“The election is a clear mandate on the city leadership, the mayor and the city manager,” Christian Archer, a consultant to Mayor Julian Castro, a 37-year-old Democrat, said today by telephone. He said municipal voters passed a $550 million bond authorization in 2007.

Archer, who organized a campaign for this month’s bond measures, said residents were willing to let the city borrow because San Antonio “is in such a strong financial condition.”

The city is the only one among the 10 largest in the U.S. by population to get top ratings on general-obligation debt from the three biggest evaluators of municipal credit.

Voters Approve

Across Texas, voters approved more than $1.5 billion of the bonds up for authorization, according to J. Lyn Carl at Strategic Partnerships.

Among the larger bond questions on municipal ballots, a $97.5 million proposition in the New Caney Independent School District, near Houston, won approval by a two-to-one margin, according to the district’s website. The money will pay for renovations and new school buildings.

In Andrews County, near Midland in West Texas, voters agreed to $59.4 million in borrowing for a new Permian Regional Medical Center hospital, according to unofficial results from the county appraisal district.

Voters in the town of Addison, north of Dallas, passed measures to permit $56 million in bonds, mostly to finance street and utility repairs and improvements. The results were posted on the community’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kathy Warbelow at kwarbelow@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net.

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