We held our second Town Hall Meeting regarding the Bond Election on Saturday the 13th. If you were unable to attend and wish to see it, it is on YouTube.
If anyone needs any further information, please call 409-429-6752 or email Mayor Bennett.
Early voting will begin this coming Monday, October 22nd. I am attaching the Early Voting Schedule. Early Voting takes place at the Nutrition Center in Woodville and the Regular Election, Tuesday, Nov 6th will be held at Hillister Baptist Church. The addresses are included in the attachment.
Also, we want to remind everyone that the First Annual Ivanhoe Arts and Crafts Festival will be taking place this Saturday the 20th in and around the Community Center, 870 Charmaine Dr E. It will be from 9AM to 4PM with an Auction held at 3PM. There will also be silent Auctions which you can sign up for. It is a great time to do a little Christmas shopping!! If you wish to enter the Festival, please contact Shirley Henderson at: 409-200-0283.
Here is the Presentation made by Councilman Herrington at the October 4th Town Hall Meeting. You will note some changes from the one previously posted.
The following are questions regarding the upcoming Bond Election proposed by Ms. Mona Davis. I answered most of them and then forwarded the list to James Gilley, Jr of U.S. Capital Advisors for review of my answers and to get answers to the ones I felt needed to be answered by them. The answers highlighted in yellow were from Mr. Gilley.
We sincerely appreciate Ms. Davis interest and her willingness to bring forward questions that many folks may have had.
Hope to see you all at the Town Hall Meeting the 4th of October at 6:30 PM or the 13th of October at 11:30 AM.
1. What is on the ballot?
FOR or AGAINST:
THE ISSUANCE OF $2,000,000 OF GENERAL OBLIGATION
BONDS FOR STREET AND ROAD IMPROVEMENTS
2. How was this bond program developed?
- Realizing that the budget was not adequate for the road work that needed to be done, Councilman David Herrington arranged for a training to be held in January of 2017 to educate council members about the options available. Jim Gilley and James Gilley, Jr. attended representing U.S. Capital Advisors LLC (this is the City’s financial advisor and facilitates the sale of the bonds) and Lance Fox, with Creighton, Fox, Johnson & Mills, PLLC (bond counsel).
- Later, LJA engineering provided us with an estimate for the repair of what were considered to be our main roads (as suggested by Texas A & M)- After much consideration, it was decided to move forward with the bond issue in May of 2018 (a year and a half later).
- Since the original estimate, we have experienced a hurricane and a major flood event, which has caused major additional damage. This along with feedback from our citizens has caused us to revisit the original map and come up with a different plan.
3. What are the major and minor features of this bond?
- The bond issuance as proposed would have a financing term of approximately 20 years. The bonds would be paid in annual principal installments and semi-annual interest installments. The total annual payments would be approximately equal from one year to the next (i.e. level debt service payments, not variable rate). The City’s financial advisor estimates an interest rate between 4.0% and 5.0%, although that is subject to change based on market conditions.
4. Would local workers have an opportunity to assist with the projects should the Bond Proposal pass?
- As with any project of this magnitude, City Council is required to go out for bids. This opens up the opportunity to anyone who bids. There are requirements that companies must meet in order to qualify.
If the question is regarding individuals working on the project, they would have to be employed by the company that wins the bid. Our current road crew is made up of Ivanhoe residents but this will be work that we will have to contract out.
5. What is the impact on my taxes? And when exactly does repayment start? Before bonds are sold or after?
- The figure we were given by the Bond company on August 24th was .2707 cents per one hundred dollars of assessed value. Your tax bill lists your value.
An example would be if your home is valued at $50,000 your annual cost would be approximately $135.00 per year or $11.28 per month. Here are some other examples of MONTHLY costs:
- Property values are public record and in order to provide information to all of our citizens we have taken the list of values and figured the cost for each property owner. This information will be available at the Town Hall Meetings. If you are not able to attend, you can look on your tax bill to get your value or you can go on the tylercad.net, click on Property Search and once you have your value, you can multiply by .0027 to get your ANNUAL cost.
- Repayment begins in the Fiscal Year following the sale of the bonds. This is AFTER the bonds are sold.
6. How are neighboring districts addressing the aging condition of their schools?
- The City of Ivanhoe is pretty much divided down the middle with half of our students attending Warren ISD schools and half attending Woodville ISD.
- The City has NOTHING to do with school districts and would not have access to any of this information.
7. What can the bond funds be used for?
- By law, Bond funds can ONLY be used for the purpose stated in the Proposition stated on the Ballot. A separate bank account would be established for these funds so that they can be accounted for separately. This is closely audited.
8. What can the bond funds NOT be used for?
- Bond funds cannot be used for any other purpose.
- For clarification purposes, the proposed costs total approximately $1,700,000. The other $300,000 is to cover the cost of engineering, bond issuance and legal costs. These are all required and typical.
9. What happens if the bond fails?
- As mentioned above, we have literally been in survival mode from the time we incorporated and before. The problem we are facing today is that the roads have reached the end of their useful life. They are deteriorating so rapidly that the difference can be seen daily. If we do not do something to improve the condition of the roads, they will be totally lost.
- Our highest hope is that we are able to attain a grant that we will apply for immediately following the election. In order to apply for the grant, we have to have our 25%. If the bond issue passes, we can apply using the authority to sell the bonds as our 25%. We had spoken about this before the May election and the deadline for submitting the grant application has been extended to the end of November. Our plan is to apply for a grant of $8,000,000.00 If we were able to get the grant we could address every road in the city. Not all of them would be the same surface but according to TxDOT engineering figures, we could do some work on all of them with this amount of money. The estimate that Councilman Herrington and his advisors came up with prior to the May election also includes $60,000 per mile for drainage. One of the huge problems we have is drainage and it must be addressed if we want to protect the roads we improve.
10. What is the breakdown of total estimated costs for the bond program by the city?
- We estimate that the total costs of issuance associated with the issuance of bonds would be approximately 3.5% of the principal amount.
11. Doesn’t someone have to buy the bonds to start and finish the projects?
- If the City is successful in selling the bonds to an investor, the proceeds from the bond sale would be used to fund the street improvement project. Unless other funds are available, the City would not have funds to start the project until the bonds are successfully sold and the transaction closed.
12. Is there candidates to buy the bonds?
- It is too early in the process to select a candidate to buy the bonds, but the City’s financial advisor believes there is a good chance the City would be successful in finding potential investors. The City’s financial advisor plans to offer the bonds via a competitive sale method, through which process multiple investors will have the opportunity to submit offers to buy the City’s bonds. If it is deemed necessary to conduct a negotiated sale (i.e. preselect a purchaser, or “underwriter”), the City will have the opportunity to review potential underwriters and select one that best meets the City’s needs.
13. If the bonds aren’t bought how is the city going to complete these projects?
- Although there is no guarantee, the City’s financial advisor believes there is a good chance the City would be successful in selling the bonds.
14. And if bonds aren’t sold in the time frame, are we as a city still stuck paying the bond back?
- If the bond election passes, that simply gives the City the authority to issue bonds. It does not obligate the City to actually sell bonds. In fact if the election passed, the City could decide to never issue the bonds and therefore the City would never have any payments. The City is under no obligation to make any payments until the bonds are successfully sold and project funds are delivered.
15. What’s the timeframe on these bonds?
- Generally speaking, bonds such as these take approximately 60-90 days to issue. However due to the timing in which the City would be able to levy a tax to pay these bonds, if the November 2018 election is successful we expect the City might not issue the bonds until summer 2019 or later.