Leander voters asked to approve nearly $71 million bond

City of Leander (KXAN Photo)
City of Leander (KXAN Photo)

LEANDER, Texas (KXAN) — “It was just all farmlands.”

Ten years ago, it was open space around Wallace Williams’ house in Leander. Now, a bustling Rouse High School sits across the street.

“I try not to get out or come in during the business hours when they’re letting out. I stay put,” says Wallace.

He says cars pack the two-lane road daily. The city of Leander wants to ease some of the congestion by widening Raider Way to four lanes, plus a turn lane. It’s one of 18 projects the city is asking voters to approve in a bond election; one they say won’t cost taxpayers more money.

“We build new buildings and they’re added to the tax roll, and we bring in more revenue,” says Tom Yantis, assistant city manager of Leander. “So we can continue to bring in enough new
revenue to pay the debt service on the new bonds without raising the tax rate.”

Roads are just part of the bond. Nearly $7 million of the bond would help develop land southwest of E. Crystal Falls Parkway and Ronald Reagan Boulevard. It would become Lakewood Community Park, and would eventually have a dog park, skate park and canoe rental.

The plan is to spend most of the bond money, more than $26 million, on parks. “We also have money to continue to build out our baseball complex at Benbrook Park,” says Yantis.

Voters will be asked to approve four propositions on the May 7 ballot:

  • $22,468,244 for transportation projects
  • $26,274,000 for parks
  • $4,185,400 for a new senior center
  • $18,000,000 for a recreation center

While this bond may not raise taxes, the city has tens of millions more dollars in bonds they’re paying off. As of the end of the 2014 fiscal year, Leander had $99 million in bond debt. That comes out to about $2,900 per person who lives in the city.

That’s higher than cities like Cedar Park, Georgetown and Kyle. However it’s lower than the bond debt in San Marcos.

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