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Up to the minute statistics you can use

starSusan Combs, then Texas State Comptroller, said in January 2013:

Recently I spent several months holding about 40 town-hall meetings with Texans across our state. Each time, I asked the attendees if they could tell me how much debt their local governments are carrying. Not a single person in a single town had this information.

That was probably true in McCulloch County, although she did not visit here. The reason is simple, it takes time and effort to gather this information. Most people have busy lives and knowing how much debt local government has is simply not on their essential "to-do" list.

They trust, as they should, the people they elect to be frugal with public money. But the Ronald Reagan idea, "Trust, but Verify", isn't practical for most people in this case. Our goal is to make it quick and easy for every citizen to obtain this information without searching multiple websites for bits and pieces of information.


Toward that end, we published "Local Debt - Just So You Know ..." in 2014. Ms. Combs comments on government, local taxes and Certificates of Obligation in that article are still timely. It is time to update and expand the rest.

It is relatively easy to find how much bonded indebtedness local governments have. Issuing local Bonds and Certificates of Obligation requires State review and approval. The Texas Bond Review Board publishes a searchable list of all registered local debt in Texas.

However, many local governments have instalment purchases, lease-purchase agreements and vendor financing arrangements that are not registered debt. In their disclaimer, the TBRB notes, "...the reported debt data may vary from actual debt outstanding, and the variance for a specific issuer could be substantial."

Some local governments make it very easy to see how much unregistered debt they have. The City of Brady publishes a straightforward Schedule of Current Obligations and Total Obligations that shows all debt on two pages. The City council deserves a lot of credit for making this information readily available to the public. Some other local governments do not make it so easy.

The summary presented here and in the documents available for download, show registered debt only.

  • Brady ISD -
    $17,175,000.00 Principle + $8,787,377.50 Interest = $25,962,377.50
  • City of Brady -
    $6,650,000.00 Principle + $327,400.63 Interest = $6,977,400.63
  • McCulloch County Hospital District -
    $7,008,121.25 Principle + $6,874,824.84 Interest = $13,882,946.09
  • Lohn ISD -
    $1,075,000.00 Principle + $536,040.00 Interest = $1,611,040.00
  • McCulloch County -
    $920,000.00 Principle + $163,650.70 = $1,083,650.70
  • Rochelle ISD and the City of Melvin do not have any public debt.




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