Smith County holding community meetings on bond road projects

Community

Commissioner Neal Franklin speaks at Smith County Road Bond Projects community meeting in Flint.

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — Smith County is holding a series of community meetings to discuss with citizens road bond projects.

One of the meetings took place Thursday at Flint Baptist Church.

“I was thrilled to see such a great turnout to our Road Bond Citizen Input meeting,” Commissioner Neal Franklin said. “We received excellent questions and valuable insight from our residents in Precinct 1, which benefits us as we move forward in the planning process.”

Franklin, County Judge Nathaniel Moran and County Engineer Frank Davis, discussed plans for the second phase of the six-year Road and Bridge Capital Improvement Project and spoke on projects that have been completed or are scheduled for the last year of Phase 1.

Three more Citizen Input Meetings are scheduled for July.

• 5:30-6:30 p.m. July 15, at Lindale High School Cafeteria, at 920 E. Hubbard St. in Lindale

• 5:30-6:30 p.m. July 20, at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport (Old Terminal – HAMM Museum), at 150 Airport Drive in Tyler

• 5:30-6:30 p.m. July 29, at Chapel Hill High School Auditorium, 13172 State Highway 64 East, Tyler

BOND PROJECT

Smith County has the following information posted on its website.

The $39.5 million Smith County Road Bond passed with 73 percent of the vote on November 7, 2017. 

The issuance of bonds are for road and bridge construction and major improvements. Roadwork around the county for the third year of the bond is well underway.

On June 22, 2021, the Smith County Commissioners Court voted to approve the sale of the fourth tranche of voter-approved road bonds at a lower-than-expected interest rate after receiving five competitive bids.  

For more, click here: 2021-06-23 News Release Road Bond Sale

The process of developing a Road and Bridge Capital Improvement Plan began in 2015, when Smith County hired Atkins Engineering to analyze the condition of each road in the county. That study resulted in the identification of up to $98 million in road projects in Smith County. Over the past three years, Smith County has dedicated $10 million from its reserve fund, in addition to what is annually budgeted to pay cash for a number of these projects.

Building on the Atkins Engineering study, the Commissioners Court held a series of citizen input meetings in 2017, to receive additional information and comments from citizens in each geographic region of the county regarding road and bridge conditions and needs. County officials also solicited and received more than 200 Citizen Feedback Forms from county residents.

The bond will be issued over a three-year period, in an amount not to exceed $39.5 million. The money received from the bonds will be used to pay for major county road and bridge projects over three years, which is Phase I of a two-phase, six-year Road and Bridge Capital Improvement Project.

The bonds will have a 10-year pay-back period, and are anticipated to be issued as needed in increments of $12 million during the first year, $12 million during the second year and $7.75 million during the third year (the third year was split into two years for $7.75 million each). The bonds are anticipated to increase the I&S portion of the tax rate by 0.7 cents per $100 valuation. The average home in Smith County is valued at $165,841, resulting in an increase in property taxes to the average homeowner in Smith County of $11.61 annually. 

On May 18, Smith County Engineer Frank Davis gave a presentation to Commissioners Court about the proposed plans for Phase 2 of the Smith County Road and Bridge Bond, which is tentatively planned for the November 2021 Election. The Commissioners Court has not formally voted to call the bond election.

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