I was quoted in the FWST this weekend and didn’t realize it until today. I’m still trying to catch up both at home and work from my weeks absense.
The Keller City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to stem the bleeding on its tax district by refinancing.
It’s a situation that city leaders didn’t see coming in 1998 when they approved the district amid Keller’s development boom. The City Council assumed that the future tax revenue from their planned Keller Town Center development would cover the payments on 20-year bonds worth $33 million.
“At the time, I could see why they would think their observations seemed reasonable,” O’Leary said.
In 2001, the tax district was $10,000 shy of its revenue goal of $422,209. In retrospect, that was a good year.
Keller’s tax district has been $12.4 million short of its revenue projections over the last decade. The city has had to dip into its general fund several times to help cover the debt.
Town Center now sports a City Hall, natatorium and other amenities, but private development has been limited. The refinancing plan would kick the bond payments 10 years down the road but could cost the city an extra $2.8 million if the commercial interest never materializes.
Doug Miller of Keller, a longtime TIF critic, urged council members at a recent meeting to avoid refinancing and “take the pain now” by slashing spending.
O’Leary said refinancing will let the city cover its tax district payments regardless of whether Town Center gets the extra development that many assumed was inevitable.
“We’re hoping it will develop as originally planned,” O’Leary said. “If it doesn’t, then we’re still going to be OK.”