Council Gives OK to NBU Property Transfer

By Steve Knight | The Herald-Zeitung

Photo by : MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

The city of New Braunfels’ public works department will move to new digs in the next couple of years.

On Monday, City Council members approved the transfer of about 35.5 acres of property on Farm-to-Market Road 306 from New Braunfels Utilities. The utility operates a service center at the site.

The property transfer comes at a cost to the city of about $10.2 million.

The transfer arrangement includes a leaseback of the service center to NBU until the utility moves into its to-be-constructed headquarters or Dec. 31, 2023, which is ever earlier.

The new NBU headquarters, which is in the design phase, is slated for completion in fall 2022.

The relocation of the city’s public works facility is part of the South Castell Avenue Visioning Plan council members approved in November 2018. 

City Manager Robert Camareno told members the public works facility at the former city site, which houses the street maintenance, drainage, solid 

waste and fleet maintenance departments, was inadequate for the city’s needs.

“One, because of the size and lack of space, but also because of the age and condition of those facilities,” Camareno said. “We undertook a preliminary design on a public works complex. We actually developed a process in 2018 for about $28 million. It was later that NBU began discussions on their facility needs as well…That opened up an opportunity for us to discuss our needs as well as their needs. We’ve been very fortunate to part with NBU on the transfer of their 35-acre site to the city at a significant cost savings to us.”

The future Fire Station No. 7 and fire training facility, both currently under design, will make their home at the site. 

According to officials, the funding arrangement requires a $5.19 million payment to New Braunfels Utilities prior to construction commencing on their new facility. Five million will come from the bond issue while the additional $190,000 will come from the solid waste fund and general fund. 

Solid waste revenues will fully support the debt service on the $5 million. The remaining $5 million will be paid over 10 years from the general fund.

In a related item, council members authorized city staff to publish notices of intent to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $17 million for construction of the fire station and fire training facility as well as improving the building for administrative offices for the public works department.

When the Creekside Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone was created in 2007, the eventual construction of Fire Station No. 7 was included in the projection and financing plan. 

The plan was amended last fiscal year to include the construction of a fire training center. 

About $12 million of funds from the proposed bond issue would support the construction of the fire station and training center, according to Jared Werner, the city’s chief financial officer.

The estimated construction cost is about $13 million. However, officials said there are sufficient reserves within the TIRZ fund to support the additional costs. 

The TIRZ has already paid for apparatuses for the new station, which will include an ambulance and aerial ladder truck as well as the design of the new facilities. 

Once the notices of intent to issue the bonds are published, council members are expected to consider authorizing the bonds’ issuance on Sept. 14.