NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) – City officials have canceled the Certificates of Obligation that were going to help fund city projects. City Council canceled the certificates after a petition with 1,000 signatures against this was submitted to the city secretary’s office on Monday.

In December of 2021, department heads presented their proposed projects to council members. About $170 million in projects were discussed during the meetings and the projects were separated into three different tiers. Officials said tier 1 meant the projects were of the highest priority.

Some of the projects that were mentioned were building a central fire station, fixing local roads and improving drains and parks.

City Council were planning to use $21 million in Certificates of Obligation (COs) to pay for some of the tier 1 projects. These COs were expected to replace prior COs debt that was going to expire in September.

The petition officials received this week does not allow the city to use COs without an election. The city said they cannot fund all of the projects, so they need to only select some of the initiatives.

“Mayor Jimmy Mize reminded the council there are still multiple life safety projects that were included in the CO projects that need to move forward. City Council will be hosting a series of work sessions aimed at identifying ways to proceed,” said the city of Nacogdoches.

The COs were going to be used for the following projects:

● Central Fire Station construction – This project would have allowed for the relocation and
consolidation of Fire Stations 2 and 5 into a more centrally located area in close
proximity to both Downtown Nacogdoches and the Shawnee neighborhood. Stations 2
and 5 are each 70 years old and do not provide adequate space and facilities for our
firefighters to function effectively, nor do they provide many of the health and safety
features of modern fire stations, including cancer prevention infrastructure. The City of
Nacogdoches places the utmost importance on the health and safety of our first
responders as well as our ability to efficiently respond to emergencies in our town. A fire
station relocation study was conducted to determine the feasibility of moving from five
fire stations to four fire stations while still providing the same service to our City. This
study was presented to the City Council in March of 2021 and has been presented to
community groups over the past year. By reducing the number of stations while
maintaining the same number of firefighters we would be able to increase the national
standard minimum number of firefighters on each fire engine from 2 to 3, enabling them
to effectively do their job when they arrive at an emergency. The cost of this project is
$8,080,000 including land acquisition, design and construction.

● Park restrooms – The current park restrooms at Banita Creek, Mill Pond, McCrimmon,
Ritchie Street and Lake Nacogdoches West parks were built in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Most of these restrooms are in extremely poor condition or are no longer functional and
have been closed to the public. The proposed restrooms would have allowed us to
provide adequate, functional and ADA compliant restrooms to our residents. Five
restrooms are budgeted at $1,320,000. The need for more and better restrooms in the parks was a common topic during the development of the Parks, Recreation and Trails
Master Planning process, written in 2017.

● Park playgrounds – This project included the design and construction of a new
playground at Robert McCrimmon Park and Mill Pond Park park. These two
playgrounds, located in the Southeast Ward, were installed in the 1980s and have not
been updated since that time. This would have allowed us to upgrade our playgrounds to
equipment similar to the new playgrounds at Pioneer Park, Pecan Park and Banita Creek
Park. The costs of these two items are $480,000.

● Storm system repairs and replacement – There are currently over 21 storm drainage
projects needed across the City, with seven projects that are already designed and shovel
ready. Adequate municipal storm drainage ensures stormwater drains efficiently off our
roads and mitigates flooding damage to private property. $5,000,000

● City-wide street repairs – This project would bring approximately 60 of our worst streets
up to a level where they only require normal maintenance for a decade in the future
$5,000,000. Funds from the existing Street Maintenance fee will also be used to make
approximately $1,000,000 of additional road repairs each year.