The next step for the two infrastructure bonds that West Lake Hills residents passed in November is scheduled to occur in February, when the bonds go out for bid and the bid with the lowest interest rate is chosen.
Once the City Council signs off, it will take about 30 days to finalize everything, which means the city should have the funding available from the two bond packages in March, according to Ashby Grundman, the city's director of building and development services.
The two bond packages cover a number of road and drainage projects throughout the city, as well as an upgrade to City Hall.
Proposition A will pay for an upgraded municipal complex to house City Hall and the Police Department and is set to cost the city up to $13.2 million.
Proposition B will pay for road and drainage improvement projects and will cost the city up to $11.8 million.
The projects on the bond include improvements for several low-water crossings on Camp Craft Road and Eanes School Road that frequently flood, making it more difficult to access Westlake High School and several housing subdivisions.
The bond also funds improvements to the areas where waterways cross Laurel Valley Road, causing flooding and sometimes property damage because of insufficient drainage ditches and erosion. Roadside ditches and potholes also will be improved on Yaupon Valley Road, and improvements will be made to reduce flooding on Terrace Mountain Drive.
The bond also pays for improved paving and flood-reduction measures on two of the city’s main thoroughfares — Redbud Trail and Westlake Drive.
Even before the bonds go out for bid, city staff are working to prepare the road and drainage infrastructure projects to go out for bid at one time next November, Mayor Linda Anthony said.
“We wanted to get them all engineered and put out as one package,” she said. “The reason for trying to fit them all together is to try and save money on engineering fees, rather than breaking them up in individual projects that would require different engineering teams to do each project. We want to try to save money on scale.”
Construction could start as early as the beginning of 2023, and will be staggered in groups to avoid unreasonable traffic delays while still taking advantage of overlapping construction costs where possible.
Work on Camp Craft Road will likely not come first because the design is complicated, and the city will want to time that project as well as the work on Westlake Drive to minimally impact school traffic during the school year.
Anthony said that as the city works to fill its vacant city administrator position, work on these bond packages continues apace.
“Our goal is to get them done as expeditiously as possible,” she said. “The sooner we can get them underway, the sooner they get finished, and we don't have to deal with continued escalation of material costs.”
The bonds will show up on resident’s tax bills at the end of 2022, according to Grundman. According to the city’s website, a homeowner with a house valued at $1.5 million, which is slightly more than the city’s average as of the assessment last year, will see a $69 increase per month. This comes out to about $828 more a year.
Residents also will see the impact of Proposition C, which was passed in November and takes the half of 1% of sales tax revenue that goes toward reducing property taxes and puts that money to a dedicated street maintenance fund. Property tax bills will see the influence of this measure starting next October.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: West Lake Hills preps for next steps on infrastructure bonds