A year and a half after Trophy Club voters shot down an $11.7 million proposal for a joint Town Hall/Police Station, town leaders will ask voters to support a new project that’s about half the size and half the cost.
The proposal has also moved toward the eastern edge of town.
More than 70 percent of Trophy Club voters opposed the 42,000-square-foot proposal in May 2014 because of the scope and cost of the project.
The overwhelming defeat prompted town leaders to reach out to residents to address their concerns, primarily bringing the building to a "more reasonable size," Mayor Nick Sanders said.
The result is a new $5.4 million bond package for a 24,000-square-foot building that goes to voters Nov. 3.
The project is planned on 5.5 acres on Trophy Wood Drive north of Texas 114. The town bought the land in May for $1.35 million, about half the cost of what the city originally intended to spend on land.
Last year’s proposal was planned in the center of town on Trophy Club Drive. The town never closed on that site.
For all the differences between last year’s project and this latest incarnation, there are similarities, too.
Most important for Trophy Club property owners is that neither would require a tax increase.
Trophy Club has wiggle room financially because it’s been able to pay off debt early and take advantage of lower interest rates, said April Reiling, public information officer for the town of Trophy Club. The town also has an AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor’s that helps the city secure better interest rates.
"Due to smart debt management, the town has the ability to issue the proposed Joint Police Department/Town Hall Facility bond without impacting the tax rate and our resident’s pocketbooks," Reiling said.
Trophy Club homeowners currently pay 49 cents per $100 valuation in city taxes with 11 cents going to repay debt and the remainder paying for city operations and maintenance.
The need for the facility hasn’t changed in the last year, either.
The Trophy Club police station consists of five prefabricated buildings that sit on jack stands and cinder blocks. The 20-year-old makeshift station requires $100,000 in rehabilitation, according to Trophy Club’s website. Complicating matters, the Trophy Club Municipal Utility District plans to build a water tower on the site.
Trophy Club Town Hall employees share space with MUD staff in the Svore Municipal Building and the Public Services Building. Photos on Trophy Club’s website show offices crammed into closets or workers sharing office space.
Former Trophy Club Town Councilman Danny Mayer helped plan the 2014 bond package and said he will support this one, too. He said a "tremendous amount of misinformation" killed the bond last year.
"I would have preferred to have the building last year but the voters didn’t agree, and I’m fine with that," Mayer said. "It’s time to move on and get something built. The employees are working on top of each other."
Jared King, who created a YouTube video last year to highlight the town’s inadequate facilities, said an innacurate mailer warned of rising taxes to build a "Taj Mahal." He said he expects more voters to support the project this year.
"It’s important that the town has enough space and if they build a project to do it right to last us 40 or 50 years," King said.
The new proposed single-story facility would be divided into three parts. In the center would be the council chambers and community meeting /training/voting space.
On the west side would be offices and other work spaces for city staff, including the town manager, planning, parks, human resources and streets. The east side would house the police department, including squad briefing room, the chief of police and animal control. The facility also includes an area where suspects could be held temporarily.
Some residents have questioned why the town would build the facility near the border with Southlake instead of putting it in the center of town, according to comments on the city’s website.
Town leaders say they considered several sites throughout Trophy Club, including partnering with Beck Properties on its PD 30 development. Ultimately, the Council decided to go with the site on Trophy Wood Drive in hopes it would spark development there.
"Available property in Trophy Club is scarce," Reiling said. "The Trophy Wood District offers the opportunity to create synergy with hotels, restaurants and police department/Town Hall facilities nearby for convenience."
Already Bread Winners and Quarter Bar announced plans to open in that area. The goal is to create a one-stop shop where Trophy Club residents can get their golf cart inspected and take care of other city business while also having access to restaurants, Reiling said.
One hotel already opened in that area and two more are in construction.
Mayer said he preferred the location in the town’s center, but that land stopped being available after the 2014 bond failed. Though this new site was less expensive for Trophy Club to buy, the downside is the Town Hall/police station takes valuable residential land off the tax rolls, Mayer said.
"It would have been homes that over the next 20 years would have brought in a lot of money," he said. "You save in one area and lose in another."
Failed 2014 project:
Size: 42,000 square feet
Bond package: $11.7 million
Location: The 5.2-acre project was proposed at the site of the Trophy Club Country Club tennis courts and swimming pool at 1000 Trophy Club Drive. Trophy Club negotiated with the property owner, Club Corp Golf of Texas, but never signed a final contract for the land.
The new proposal:
Size: 24,000 square feet
Bond package: $5.4 million
Location: In May, Trophy Club closed on a 5.56-acre property on Trophy Wood Drive just north of Texas 114. The town bought the property for $1.35 million.
Results from May 2014:
For: 488 (29 percent )
Against: 1,190 (71 percent )
Source: Town of Trophy Club/Tarrant and Denton County Elections