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Robstown city manager: Proposal affects Robstown residents

Posted at 5:52 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 14:11:16-04

ROBSTOWN, Texas — Robstown City Manager Herman Rodriguez said he previously wasn't comfortable commenting on the $9.5 million bond proposal for Nueces Co. Drainage Ditch District No. 2 because the project is not a city project.

"I don't like making comments about another agency, because this bond issue is not a City of Robstown bond," Rodriguez said. "It is a Nueces Co. Drainage District No. 2 bond. So we kind of want to respect them with their comments."

He said he changed his mind about commenting Tuesday after receiving a lot of feedback and questions. Most of the tax base for Nueces Co. Drainage District No. 2 is within the Robstown city limits, and Rodriguez said he just wants to make sure he's doing right by its citizens.

The proposed bond would fund projects to address flooding concerns in Robstown.

He also had other concerns about the proposed project, calling it premature.

He said the city and county already have applied for grant money in the areas covered by the bond proposal. Rodriguez worries if the grant is awarded, it would duplicate funding for the same areas. The problem with that, he said, is that bonds are like loans, which would need to be paid back. Grants do not.

If the bond passes, nearly $2 million would also be spent on new equipment for the projects. Rodriguez said the drainage district could lease the equipment, which would cost taxpayers much less.

"Any finance professional that knows better will tell you not to finance equipment for 20 or 30 years," he said. "Equipment is used for maybe seven to 10 years. And in this case, you'll be making payments on equipment for 10-20 years after it's no longer useful."

Rodriguez also said the county is looking to draw up a drainage plan that includes the Robstown area. What they find in that study, could also be used to address some of the current issues.

If the bond proposal is approved, funding would be used on four separate projects; one in Robstown, one in Petronila and two in the Blue Bonnet neighborhoods that fall within Nueces county.