FBTX ~ A funding strategy for needed renovations to the Farmers Branch Manske Library will be among the agenda items up for discussion at the City Council’s meeting of July 28 that has been added to the schedule.
With increased new construction and commercial property value growth, historically low interest rates and competitive construction costs, the City has a unique opportunity to finance library renovation debt without increasing the property tax rate. The Council agenda will contain an item to discuss and consider notice of intent to issue certificates of obligation for the renovation efforts. Assistant City Manager Ben Williamson explained that "notice of intent" does not mean approval of COs, but provides a 45 day period to discuss the possibility. Council would still need to vote after that time period before any debt is issued. A capital campaign to supplement debt funding is also in the works.
Initial conceptual pictures of what a renovated Library could look like are available online. Any renovation to the Library will involve robust community outreach efforts.
Mr. Williamson cited the very high numbers of visitors to the Manske Library on an annual basis, underscoring the facility as an important part of overall Farmers Branch quality of life, along with quality parks and amenities that are attractive to visitors and new families.
"The Library is our most used facility but the existing building does not match the quality and functionality of other city facilities," he said. "It needs an update."
Mr. Williamson explained the existing Library building, though structurally sound, has not been updated to current ADA requirements, is energy inefficient and is not meeting the needs of new residents and young adults as evidenced by surveys and resident engagement activities.
Debt financing is being considered because previous funding strategies of "pay as you go" are not as feasible with new state limitations on property tax revenue growth that severely restrict cities’ ability to "save" money to finance such projects.
The Council meeting begins at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 28 at Farmers Branch City Hall, 13000 William Dodson Parkway and will be aired live on FBTV – cable channel 16 in Farmers Branch, AT&T Uverse Channel 99 throughout the DFW Metroplex or online at farmersbranchtx.gov/fbtv.