Putting a County Surplus to Work
On Monday, the Commissioners Court will consider issuing $18 million in tax notes (short-term debt).
Why are we now considering tax notes, debt that doesn’t require a vote by the taxpayers? In short, we have a $20+ million fund balance that can only be spent to pay debt and this would allow us to access those funds.
We have this surplus situation because of the state’s Truth-in-Taxation law. A long Truth-in-Taxation worksheet calculates how much tax we collect in order to pay down our voter-approved debt. That calculation was wrong and it collected too much tax from you. Several years ago, our Budget Office corrected the calculation to stop over-collecting taxes.
Despite that correction, we still have a large untouched surplus. And since we are not able to apply our surplus funds to cover voter-approved bond projects, these new tax notes can give us a way to access the fund balance.
The tax notes will create a debt that will fund vital capital improvements. After one year the $20 Million surplus will pay off the tax notes.
If approved, the short-term debt will fund:
- Plano Sub-Courthouse Improvements and Renovation $2,200,000.00
- Construct JP / Constable Precinct 2 Building $3,200,000.00
- Elections Equipment and Technology $10,200,000.00
- Medical Examiner Building Expansion $1,400,000.00
Short-term debt has not been issued during my 11-year tenure, but there is no reason to keep holding on to $20 Million that we cannot spend. And creating a short-term debt now will allow us to spend the fund on capital improvements that will benefit the county decades into the future.