Texans Led by San Antonio Vote on $1.8 Billion in Bonds

Texas school districts and cities such as San Antonio are asking voters for authority to borrow $1.8 billion to pay for projects, including streets and parks.

San Antonio, the state’s second-biggest city by population after Houston, will put up for election a record $596 million in bonding authority to finance 140 proposals. If passed on May 12, the borrowing would help fund work on items from bridges to museums and public-safety facilities.

“San Antonio is investing in itself in a big, big way,” said Christian Archer, who is leading the push for passage as an adviser to Mayor Julian Castro, a 37-year-old Democrat. “We’re growing so fast and there is a lot of deferred maintenance.”

Ballot measures will be considered in 11 cities, and areas that finance 46 school districts, two community colleges and one hospital, according data compiled by Strategic Partnerships, an Austin, Texas-based research and consulting firm. A year earlier, voters authorized $2.14 billion out of $2.62 billion on ballots statewide.

San Antonio sold 10-year bonds at a yield of 2.33 percent on March 26, or 0.05 percentage points below a Bloomberg Fair Value index for that day. The offering refinanced existing debt. The city is the only one among the 10 largest in the U.S. to get top ratings on general-obligation debt from the three biggest evaluators of municipal credit.

Previous Measure Passed

Residents in San Antonio last confronted a debt vote, for $550 million in bonds, in 2007, Archer said. The measure passed.

According to Strategic Partnerships, the following bond authorizations are also being sought:

-- $97.5 million for the New Caney Independent School District, north of Houston

-- $59.4 million for Andrews County Hospital District, north of the West Texas city of Odessa, for a new medical building

-- $56 million for street and other improvements in Addison, a town north of Dallas.

Houston, with almost 2.1 million residents, is the Lone Star State’s largest city, followed by San Antonio at 1.3 million and Dallas with 1.2 million, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Texas voters consider bond questions at elections in May and November.

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