Blanco County News
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Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, April 20, 2011 • Posted April 23, 2011

Dear Editor,

Thank you very much for the recent articles regarding the Blanco ISD upcoming bond election.  As a Blanco ISD taxpayer, it is quite helpful to know how the bond proceeds are to be spent.  There remain questions, however, that were not addressed by the recent FAQ articles.  It would be helpful for the taxpayers to have these and other questions answered:

1. What are the soft costs associated with the bond project?  For example, what are the architectural fees, bond counsel fees, and financial planning fees?  It appears as though the architect will be paid 20% of the actual construction costs.  What is the motivation to bring in construction costs at the lowest possible number?  Similarly, bond counsel and the financial planning firm receive a percent of the bond for their fees.  Some have calculated this in the area of hundreds of thousands of dollars to be paid by the Blanco ISD taxpayers.  What is the pro rata share of the hundreds of thousands of dollars of the current administrative costs attributed to the bond?

2. Were a number of “Requests for Proposals” sent to a variety of architectural, financial planning, and bond counsel firms or were these firms chosen on a “sole source” basis?

3. Are there “basis points, origination points, discount points or similar types of fees” associated with having portions of the 20 year amortization schedule for the bonds to be compartmentalized into 5 and 10 year increments?  If so, what are these fees within the projected interest rate?  

I am in hopes we receive responses before making a decision about this type of tax increase.  Accountability is the key in this situation.  

Sincerely,

Mike Barnes

Blanco, TX

Note: Mike Barnes is a candidate for school board.

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