A Short History of Aransas County Debt
Debt is something, as a private person, we all would prefer to avoid. Ask someone about their debt load and more than half can give you answers in detail including their plan to pay off whatever debt they can as early as possible.
Governments, usually, have never truly had an issue with carrying debt since, in my opinion, the government is not paying the debt, the ad valorem taxpayers and venue* users are paying.
A review of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports from financial year ending December 31, 1988, to financial year ending December 31, 2019, revealed some interesting information.
The most amazing one is the County carried no debt from 1988-2000. Maybe it should be stated this way – THE COUNTY DID NOT CARRY DEBT FOR 12 YEARS (1988-2000).
That’s right. For 12 years the County survived without borrowing funds.
This ended in 2003.
Between 2003 and 2016, the County order bonds for a total of $44,465,000. Two bonds ($12,440,000) were ordered for refinancing of aging debt to a lower interest rate.
For that almost $44.5 million of debt, the County has built a Detention Center, Public Safety Center and a new Animal Shelter along with improvements to various County-owned structures. This debt also paid for various pieces of equipment and software.
As of August 13, 2020, the County debt load is $14,005,000.
The County needs to build a new courthouse. Everyone can agree on this.
The true question is – can we, the taxpayers, afford our debt to more than double to pay for the three-story Courthouse which has been presented to those who will pay the debt.
*For Aransas County, venue funds come from either the Airport, Transfer Station or Jail Commissary.
(All information available here under the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports folder)