County eager to get rolling on bond projects

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Officials in Kaufman County are expected to meet soon with finance experts who will recommend optimal timing for issuing $154.1 million in bonds authorized by voters last week.

Proposition A, which called for $104.1 million for road and transportation improvements, passed 8,780-2,902. Voters OK’d Proposition B, the issuance of  $50 million in bonds for facilities improvement, by a 7,435-4,189 margin.

A key selling point in the bond election was a pledge that property owners would not pay higher taxes to finance tens of millions in new debt. County Judge Hal Richards said Tuesday that the bond sales must be structured so as to keep that promise.

Still, the county is expected to move swiftly in lining up engineers and contractors to get a number of projects rolling, Richards said. The county won’t wait on the sale of bonds before tackling a number of projects meant to address county facilities and transportation. Money can be advanced from the general fund this year and paid back after bonds are issued.

County officials will set priorities for which projects will be started first, he said. Construction on some projects can begin within a year, Richards said.

Proposition B’s crowning jewel, a new $37 million justice center, will be a complex project that likely will take two to three years before its is ready to be occupied, Richards noted.

In addition, road projects to be done in conjunction with TxDOT could take as long as eight years, he estimated.

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