Grapevine City Council members will need to decide by mid-August if they want to call a bond election for the November ballot that would fund the expansion of the Community Activities Center and the construction of a new public safety building.
If voters approve the request in November, both projects could go up within two years and be paid for with $70 million in bonds without raising the current tax rate.
“We haven't issued any bonds in over about seven years and we paid off a lot of bonds, we refinanced a lot of bonds, got a lower interest rate that allows us to pay it off faster,” Mayor William D. Tate said. “So financially we put ourselves in a position to increase our debt without impacting our tax rate.”
In recent months, the council has been in discussion about expanding and renovating the existing CAC to meet the needs of current and future residents. A group of residents surveyed for the feasibility study wanted more fitness space, an aquatic facility and more locker rooms.
The council has also been in discussions about a new public safety building that would house the city's fire administration, police department, municipal court, detention facility and emergency operations center. The council has narrowed down potential sites for that facility to two.
Fire Chief Steve Bass said both the police department and fire administration have outgrown their existing facilities, so the new building would provide much needed room and relief.
"It will enable a far better level of service delivery for public safety in the city," he said.
The new public safety building could cost $40 million, while the updated CAC could cost $30 million, according to estimates presented by John McGrane, the city's director of administrative services.
There would be no increase associated with the additional debt given the current tax rate of 34.8 cents per $100 valuation, McGrane said. The bonds would be paid off over a 20-year lifespan, he said.
However, the council has other options. Grapevine could pay cash for both projects, or the council could decide to fund both projects from a combination of money pulled from the city's quality of life fund, general obligation bonds and certificate of obligation bonds.
The council will have to vote no later than Aug. 14 to call a November election to issue general obligation bonds, McGrane said.