Growth, growth and more growth.
Focusing on how New Braunfels’ growth is affecting its people, pushing forward projects and forging partnerships, City Manager Robert Camareno gave the third annual State of the City address Tuesday afternoon.
Camareno broke down population projections, the city budget and bond projects for a room of a couple hundred people at the McKenna Event Center.
“I really can’t do a presentation without talking about the growth in our community,” Camareno said. “Particularly growth in population in our community.”
Having remained in the top-10 of the fastest growing cities in the nation for the past four years — being number two in population percentage growth for three of those years — Camareno said growth is affecting many aspects of life in New Braunfels.
“This year we are still the second fastest city in the country, but first in the state of Texas,” Camareno said. “Our population estimates are 84,612 — that was in July 2018 estimates.”
With a growth rate of 7.2%, New Braunfels topped cities such as Frisco, Georgetown, Midland and Round Rock, Camareno said.
“When you look at our population from 2010 to 2018, our population grew nearly 27,000 people — or 46.5% in an eight year period,” Camareno said. “We’re all feeling the impacts on the services we provide.”
A state demographer has estimated over the next six years, New Braunfels could grow to 102,000 — 17,600 more people by 2024.
“I talk about this a lot, I talk about the increased demand on the services we provide because of the growth in population,” Camareno said. “For solid waste … five years ago we had 28,501 customers. Today, 34,740 — that’s 6,200 customers, just in that one department.”
As the influx continues, city staff is working hard to keep up with infrastructure, development and more through financial planning.
“Our mission statement talked about planning for the future and we certainly do that,” Camareno said.
Sales tax continues to be the largest source of revenue for the cities general fund, at 30.7% of budgeted revenue.
“The sales tax payment for July was about $3.3 million,” Camareno said. “That’s up 11% in comparison to the year before and is a new record for monthly sales tax collection.”
The tax rate will remain at 48.8220 cents, equal to last years total rate, Camareno said.
“the general fund portion of the rate was decreased by 46 cents while the debt service rate was increased by that rate,” Camareno said. “This allowed us an opportunity to increase our first issuance bonds for the 2019 bond.”
Camareno also touched on a number of partnerships the city has with outside organizations such as the Texas Department of Transporation, the Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and more.
“I really want to focus on the power of partnerships because we’ve been able to accomplish so much because of partnerships in this community, and this is something I think we need to continue to focus on,” Camareno said. “Fortunately we are blessed with the folks that we have.”
To close out the presentation, Camareno went over successes of the 2013 bond, such as Das Rec and several road projects, as well as touched on the upcoming projects for the 2019 bond.
The total amount of the 11 projects is $143 million, with $117 million on the election ballot, $15 million in contribution from the New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation, $8 million from roadway impact fees and $3 million already funded through tax notes.
More information about the 2019 bond can be found at http://www.nbtexas.org/2190/2019-Bond-Program.