DeSoto City Council Discusses Ballot Language
DeSoto- City Manager Brandon Wright introduced the purpose of this meeting: to discuss potential ballot language for a 4B election and for moving funding from Type A to a Type B Corporation. Mr. Otis Jones presented ballot language he was recommending for a November 3, 2020 election. The purpose would be to transfer the full 3/8% sales tax currently received by the Type A to the expanded Type B corporation.
The funds would continue to meet ongoing obligations under the old Type A program but would provide increased flexibility for the 3/8 cent sales tax already being collected. These could still be transferred in an 1/8% incremental amount.
The suggested ballot language is as follows: “The abolition of the sales and use tax within the City of DeSoto for the promotion and development of new and expanded business enterprises pursuant to Section 504.251, Texas Government Code, as amended, currently at the rate of 0.375 percent; and the adoption in place of such abolished tax, of a local sales and use tax in the City of DeSoto at the rate of 0.375% percent to be used for the promotion and development of new and expanded business enterprises and all other public purposes pursuant to Section 505.251, Texas Local Government Code; all of which would result in no net increase in the sales and use tax collected by the City of DeSoto.
Yes or No Vote:
Sales tax flow:
1.0% = City
0.5% = Tax Relief
0.375% EDC A-B
0.125% Park Development Board
Total sales tax = 2.0% (same as current amount)”
Citizens Will Decide In November
City Attorney Joe Gorfida wanted to emphasize the Council understands this is slightly different than what was previously discussed and that “the funds that are currently with the A (0.375%) moves over to the B. The B currently has 0.125% – Park Development Board. That will stay there. The 0.125 will be solely for Park Development Projects. The 0.375% will be for the broader expanded projects.”
Mr. Otis noted the change in scope for the funds would be voted on in an election Tuesday, November 3, 2020 with a transition plan for the funds to then be presented to Council at a later meeting in November or December of 2020. Therefore, the first actual receipt of “Type B” EDC sales tax funds would be in March of 2021.
The proposed ballot language would need to be ready for Council approval at the July 21, 2020 meeting. There would be one ordinance at that meeting, calling the general election and the Type B proposal. The bottom line of the new B would be that it would be able to do everything an A could do whereas now B is limited to Parks only.
Meadow Creek Park Development
Chris Glover discussed the master plan for Meadow Creek. “We actually have seven football fields now that phase 2 is complete,” Glover continued, discussing a 10,000 square feet amphitheater, soccer fields, walking trails and more.
Three Expansion Options For Recreation Center
As far as the recreation center, he continued there are three expansion options:
- An Aquatics only area. This would feature a 38,000 sq rt aquatic center with an eight lane 25 yard competition pool, 4,400 sq ft leisure pool with current channel, waterslide and spray features and s 165 sq ft warm water spa. The cost for this would be $13,136,000.
- Option 2 would be a leisure pool and fitness area. This would cost $17,150,000 and would be a 61,000 sq ft recreation and aquatics center with a 6,500 sq ft leisure pool and play structure, current channel and waterslide. It would also include aa 9,600 sq ft fitness center with one gymnasium and elevated running track and a 2,000 sq ft multipurpose room.
- The third option would cost even more at $26,420,000. It would be more of a full blown recreation center including an 86,000 sq ft recreation and aquatics center including an eight lane 25 yard competition pool, 4,500 sq ft leisure pool with a current channel, a waterslide with vortex and a 9,300 sq ft fitness center, two gymnasiums and an elevated running track.
No Change To Tax Rates
Councilperson Raphael asked if there were cost recovery options on the various options. Mr. Wright replied that Option one would be short by about $450,000 in annual cash flow, 1.5 million when the debt is added. In Option 2 it would be short $80,000 per year and about the same $1.5 million short on debt. Option 3 would be short roughly $2.3 million short overall.
“The option tonight is not to decide which option we might want, but to know what the options are.”
The surprising news is that “we would not need to change our tax rates until year 2039 and then it would only be by six-tenths of a cent, City Manager Wright pointed out. “This is the very fullest our debt can handle until that time,” Wright stated. He said this would be a worst case scenario. He continued that construction would not start until 2025. This estimates an annual two percent growth in the economy over that time period.
Councilman Moore said he would prefer that thoughts also be considered so that when downturns take place, and expectations should be that the economy might worsen at times over future years. Moore continued that he doesn’t want to be a few years down the road and we find that financial situations are in much worse shape. City Manager Wright agreed and noted that since construction wouldn’t begin until 2025 there would be more time to see what direction the economy would take given the current turn of the world economy.
Which Projects Are a Priority?
Council person Raphiel asked if there were other projects that should be considered down the line such as a senior center, fire station or others.
“The top of mind for me would certainly be the roads,” Mr. Wright answered. Council person Quarles asked about any other funding options. “In this particular situation we are not talking about raising the tax rate,” Wright replied. He said there could also be other possible partners such as the school district, the YMCA or others.
Councilman Byrd stated he would prefer to start something with Moseley now so citizens get some benefit sooner rather than later. Mayor Pro-Tem Moore agreed. “We still have at least another five years before we break ground on Meadows … Let’s at least get Moseley going and then move from that project.” Mayor McCowan said she is in full support of going forward with Moseley.
City Manager Wright closed the meeting indicating staff would look into going with Moseley Pool first and examine option three for the longer term, but with an eye toward beginning before 2025.