The EDF Quarterly Luncheon held October 20 featured the annual State of the City Address by City Manager Robert Camareno. This was Camareno’s eighth address since becoming City Manager in 2013. The address included growth statistics and the City’s response to it.
The 50-slide presentation showed New Braunfels as America’s third fastest growing city since 2010, adding nearly 33,000 new citizens over the last decade. The population is projected to top 100,000 in 2022. New building permits since 2010 total over 11,000 with 731 of those being commercial permits.
The compounded annual growth rate of valuations on all property types have averaged 9.2% since 2010. In Fiscal Year 2020 just ended September 30, there were 1,501 permits submitted. Camareno showed hotspots in the area for residential permits as well as for commercial permits.
City Council recently adopted a 2020-21 fiscal year budget that included maintaining existing resources and service levels, maintaining solvency in the City’s enterprise funds, and continuing to deliver the 2019 bond program. He highlighted seven budget highlights which included no compensation increases for employees as well as no new positions authorized other than in the solid waste department. Growth and property tax revenues will support the 2019 bond program as well as funds from the CARES Act. Budgeted expenditures are dominated by capital improvements and public safety. Sales tax and property tax make up the majority of general fund revenue.
The fiscal year 2021 adopted tax rate is one half cent lower than last year’s total rate and will be split between maintenance and operations and the interest and sinking fund. The majority of expenditures are dedicated to public safety at 54.6%.
Camareno outlined the status of the 2019 bond program which includes 11 different projects totaling over $143 million. Transportation Infrastructure projects total $44.5 million and included improvements to California Boulevard and many upcoming other street projects. Parks and Recreation projects total $16.5 million with the Comal Cemetery wall stabilization project underway, all-abilities park improvements, and the coming Zipp Family Sports Park. Public Safety totals $50.4 million to new fire stations with this awarded to Seidel Construction Company of New Braunfels. A new police department and Veterans Memorial is out for bid with construction to start early next year. The Westside Community Center Library has design completed, and Camareno anticipates release of competitive sealed bid proposals next month.
Public services provided during the pandemic were outlined over several slides. He highlighted the Mayor’s Business Community Task Force that included several EDF members. Throughout the presentation Camareno emphasized the many partnerships in the community that make for a successful city. Foundation Chairman Tim Zipp noted the EDF is proud to be one of those partners.