Nueces Co. Drainage District proposes new bond

Nueces Co. Drainage District proposes new bond
Posted at 4:15 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 21:19:14-04

Nueces County Drainage District No. 2 wants voters to say "yes" to a $5.33 million bond proposal in November, a year after those same voters said "no" to a $9.5 million bond issue.

District officials hope a smaller bond is easier for voters to support.

“We felt like what the community needs is actual shovel-ready projects, something where they can go out and see what needs to be done,” said NCDD No. 2 Office Manager Sara Garcia.

This bond includes projects from the failed 2019 bond, but Garcia says one project was dropped, as were plans to acquire land for a new district office and new equipment.

Most of the work centers around Robstown High School. Plans call for improvements to prevent flooding on Avenue J, as well as filling in the ditch which runs along Bosquez St., parallel with the school.

Money for the Avenue J/Bosquez St. improvements account for $2,453,731 of the bond proposal. Garcia says the district believes that ditch is a potential hazard, especially for young drivers.

“We’re trying to prevent something before it happens,” said Garcia. “This is something the City of Robstown has tried to do for a long time, and we’re just trying to help out.”

Other projects include $1,312,000 for improvements to Ditch A, located behind the high school, as well as a ditch on the back side of the Bluebonnet subdivision. There are also $810,000 for improvements in the Casa Blanca subdivisions.

The remaining $754,269 covers a feasibility study and administrative fees.

However, Nueces County was covered by disaster declarations for Hurricanes Hanna and Isaias, making the district eligible for federal grants. So why even ask taxpayers for a bond?

“Without voter approval on the bond, we would not be able to go after these grants,” said Garcia.

Many federal disaster relief grants require communities to match at least some of the funds. Garcia says the district has applied for nearly $3 million in grants, but can’t match the funds without the bond.

“This is 100% bond, but if we get the grants, then we’d have something to back us up, and all we would need is the matching funds,” said Garcia.

The most common question from district taxpayers is what the bond proposal will cost them in new taxes. According to Garcia, if the bond passes, and the district doesn’t get grants, property taxes would go up about $30 a year on a $50,000 house.