Growing communities frequently use general obligation bonds to accelerate capital improvement projects that enhance, replace, and expand existing infrastructure, as well as prepare cities for future development. For Buda, Texas their $90 million bond program approved by local voters in 2021, will support the improvement of local transportation infrastructure and public park space.
Managing a bond program requires a significant investment in staff resources and time. Because of this, communities seek support from a consultant to augment internal staff resources and workloads. There are many moving parts to effectively managing a bond program including, ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations and making certain that the projects are responsive to the expectations of the community and voters. To support these efforts, the city of Buda contracted with WSB as a Bond Program Manager in 2022 to oversee, manage, and implement their bond program.
How WSB is guiding Buda’s Bond program
In Texas, communities typically develop a bond program with guidance from citizen advisory groups. The group collaborates with city officials to identify projects that are subject to voter approval, along with the estimated cost. Because voters are directly approving bonds via referendum, there is an expectation to finance and complete projects as seamlessly as possible.
There are obstacles and hurdles to overcome after a bond program is approved, especially for small or mid-sized communities with limited internal staff resources. Each project is different, has varying design needs, and requires collaboration with different entities (utilities, counties, state agencies, constituents, etc.).
WSB was hired to serve as an extension of city staff for Buda, providing consulting services on best practices, cost accounting, communications management, technology tools, and more. The team’s wide-ranging and deep-rooted knowledge of city capital program delivery supports the effective and efficient completion of the transportation and park improvements in the program.
Implementing best practices
WSB is helping Buda implement best practices in several areas.
Cutting-edge tools create timely, accurate financial forecasts based on available bond proceeds. Those predictions allow the city to develop a timeline for multiple bond issuances and where dollars are being allocated for the projects within the program. By creating tools to monitor and understand financial databases – WSB develops detailed reports on budgets, spending, savings, and financial time estimation.
Creating customized technology programs for Buda empowers city staff with the know-how and tools to continue these best practices for future projects. The goal is to develop these systems in a collaborative fashion so organizations can manage and oversee their own systems in the future.
Additionally, in the current phase of managing Buda’s bonding program, the WSB team is advising the city on how to keep the community well informed about projects and their benefits. The team is developing a website, creating key messages and communication plans, and fostering conversations with stakeholders, neighbors, and property owners within the community. The community is very eager to see the investments become a reality, and the projects will advance more seamlessly if there is continued community involvement and support.
WSB will continue to guide, collaborate and support the city of Buda to ensure that every detail of the bond program is managed and that the benefits of their investment in public infrastructure is fully realized.