SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — The Smith County Commissioners Court approved the sale of voter-approved courthouse bonds on Tuesday after getting “five competitive bids.”

The Limited Tax Courthouse Bonds will net the county $160 million to pay for the construction of a new courthouse, with the sale set to close on Sept. 21.

A brief presentation was given by Steven Adams, managing director of Specialized Public Finance Inc., who said the county’s AA+ rating helped them attract competitive bidders.

“Five bids are really good for a bond issuance of this size,” Adams said.

Jeffries LLC was the winning bid, with a 4.43% true interest cost. Because the interest rate is so low, the bond will result in a “minimal tax rate increase to pay these bonds back,” Adams added.

In order to pay for the bond passed by voters, the debt service portion of the total tax rate is being increased for Smith County taxpayers, according to a release.

The $179 million bond was approved by 53.73% of the vote in November 2022 and will include $160 million for the new courthouse and $19 million for a parking garage.

The proposed fiscal year 2024 budget includes a proposed tax rate of .347264 cents per $100 valuation, an increase from the current tax rate of 33 cents.

The county held two public hearings on the proposed budget and an additional public hearing will be held on Sept. 5 at 9:30 a.m., where the FY24 budget is scheduled to be adopted.