SA debt load over $205 mil

- Half of the debt load for the City of San Angelo is from the Hickory Aquifer Project. The amount of money the city owes is similar to Midland and more than 3 times that of Abilene's debt.

At a principal of $205 million and, with interest, a debt of $252 million the city of San Angeo's debt load is higher than it has ever been. The city Finance Director, Tina Bunnell, said the main reason for debt increase is the $120 million Hickory Aquifer project.

"This is the most we've ever had and, like I said again, most of that is due to the Hickory Project where we issued the money to complete that project," stated Bunnell.

Twice a year, usually in February and August, the city pays off around $18 million on the debt.

"i think we're in a good spot right now. Like I said, we do have a capacity there to either issue more debt or do pay-as-you-go projects," stated Bunnell. "We've presented to council recently regarding streets and how we're going to pay for those and we do have some capacity there to issue debt to pay for streets if that's what the council chose to do."

Bunnell said, if the city does not issue more debt, we should have the debt load paid off in about 20 years. However, right now, there is not a debt ceiling... which means the debt could be increased.

"So, it's not a set ceiling amount. It's up to their discretion and their directions," Bunnell said.

Part of the city property tax rate is allocated for the city's debt service.

"Part of the tax rate is set aside as payment per debt. So, right now, our tax rate is set at 77.6 cents... 8 cents of that is allocated for debt and covers our debt payments," continued Bunnell.

Compared to other cities similar to San Angelo's size, Abilene and Midland, San Angelo owes the most money.

In January, San Angelo's debt rating was increased. On an assessed value of almost $4 billion.

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