County Can Take on $170 M of New Debt without Raising Tax Rate Can Fund New Jail/Justice Center

By Gloria Roemer

 

Chambers County Commissioners Court received “good” news at its regular meeting last Tuesday when Nathan Watkins, Integrative Results, LLC, presented an update to the Court of the County’s 10 year financial and debt service plan. Watkins stated emphatically that within the next 10 years, Chambers County will have no problem taking on additional debt of up to $170 million without raising the tax rate. This was a relief as Commissioners Court has been tackling the issue of how to fund the planned new justice and jail center.

It is anticipated that the Court is going to present to the voters in the November 2022 election a bond referendum between $85 million to $107 million. With the County taking on new debt of $49 million in certificates of obligation earlier this year, the Court felt it necessary to have analysis done on which future capital projects the County can and cannot fund.

In other business, the Court voted unanimously to amend the Chambers County American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Plan regarding the section on Trinity Bay Conservation District. The County will pass on to TBCD $644,000 so TBCD can complete the new Hankamer Wastewater Treatment Plant. The new treatment plant should be online in November 2022.

The Court also approved item #1.2 – Discuss and consider approving an Interlocal Agreement between Chambers County and all the Chambers County school districts including East Chambers ISD, Anahuac ISD, Goose Creek ISD, and Barbers Hill ISD, regarding Tax Abatement Adjustments. Commissioner Billy Combs stated that he approved the agreement in protest because the agreement was handed to the commissioners at the meeting and as Combs stated, “I wish I had time to read this.” This interlocal agreement will disburse $4 million to each school district – $500,000 a year for the next two years. There are no restrictions on how the districts use the money.

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