$700 million city debt concerns watchdog group - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/26/09

$700 million city debt concerns watchdog group

By Ann Wyatt Little  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The city's debt has nearly doubled in just three years and that has one local watchdog group concerned. Lubbock taxpayers are on the way to being $1 billion in debt according to the taxpayer watchdog group Spartan or South Plains Area Taxpayer Network.

A large percentage of the city's debt is set aside to making sure water gets to Lubbock. The city says right now that $1 billion figure may be misleading.

"We're just getting up there really high," says Mikel Ward and she's talking about the city's debt.

"Since it's been over $1 billion it has been worrying me. We are assuming a lot more debt than maybe we can pay back in the future," she adds. She got that figure from the City's Budget Office by adding the principal for current debts which is just under $700 million and the interest on those debts which is around $310 million.

Councilman Paul Beane says that math may be misleading. "To talk about an excessive bond debt just over $682 million is a far cry from $1 billion," he says. Ward counters by saying the city plans to borrow more money soon. If the November 3rd bond election passes plus the nearly $168 million for various projects including a water pipeline between Lubbock and Lake Alan Henry the city will have debts just short of $946 million.

Beane says the city's budget is half a billion dollars per year and most of the bond debt is self supporting

"For water or sewer projects the debts on bonds are paid for by our citizens for by the charges on water and sewer services," says Beane. Wall Street determines the city's bond rating and Beane says the current strong rating shows Lubbock is on track. "If there was a hint, especially in these troubled financial time that we have nationally and across the state...if there was a hint of any problems Lubbock wouldn't be enjoying bond ratings that we have today," says the councilman.  

Ward hopes the numbers don't fall too far in the red. "I don't want to mimic what is going on in Washington as far as just increasing and increasing our debt," adds Ward.

"We have started chasing water projects and that is great down the line, but we are picking up the tab right now through fees," says Ward. A tab Beane says taxpayers are covering.

"You pay the tab for your children and great grand kids. We have to continue to grow," says Beane.

If bond election passes then 5 cents would be added to the overall tax rate. Currently for every 100 dollars you pay 44.6 cents and just over 8 cents of that goes to pay off bond debt.

©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • Local News on KCBD.comNewsMore>>

  • FAA orders more engine inspections after Southwest accident

    FAA orders more engine inspections after Southwest accident

    Friday, April 20 2018 4:53 PM EDT2018-04-20 20:53:41 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 3:58 AM EDT2018-04-21 07:58:47 GMT
    (NTSB via AP). National Transportation Safety Board investigators examine damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The Southwes...(NTSB via AP). National Transportation Safety Board investigators examine damage to the engine of the Southwest Airlines plane that made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. The Southwes...
    The manufacturer of the jet engine involved in a fatal Southwest Airlines accident Tuesday wants more jets to be inspected for potential problems.
    The manufacturer of the jet engine involved in a fatal Southwest Airlines accident Tuesday wants more jets to be inspected for potential problems.
  • In new walkouts, students look to turn outrage to action

    In new walkouts, students look to turn outrage to action

    Friday, April 20 2018 12:26 AM EDT2018-04-20 04:26:49 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 3:57 AM EDT2018-04-21 07:57:26 GMT
    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File). FILE - In this March 14, 2018 file photo, young demonstrators hold a rally in front of the White House in Washington. Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gu...

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

    Another wave of school walkouts is expected as students honor victims of gun violence and push for gun control.

  • Leak crackdown talk yields rare Comey, Trump agreement

    Leak crackdown talk yields rare Comey, Trump agreement

    Friday, April 20 2018 1:03 AM EDT2018-04-20 05:03:06 GMT
    Saturday, April 21 2018 3:56 AM EDT2018-04-21 07:56:08 GMT
    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh). Copies of the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey are photographed in Washington, Thursday, April 19, 2018. President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about the judgment...(AP Photo/Susan Walsh). Copies of the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey are photographed in Washington, Thursday, April 19, 2018. President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about the judgment...

    President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

    President Donald Trump told former FBI Director James Comey that he had serious concerns about his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Powered by Frankly