Enjoy all your local news and sports for less than 6¢ per day.

Subscribe Now

New Marble Falls City Hall requires ballot measure

Site of new Marble Falls City Hall

Marble Falls city officials plan to construct a new City Hall at the corner of Broadway and Main Street in the coming years. Staff photo by Nathan Bush

The city of Marble Falls must put a bond referendum before voters to fund a new City Hall on the corner of Broadway and Main Street, according to legal advice. Cost is estimated at $13 million.

City Manager Mike Hodge said the city believed it would be able to avoid a bond election by using funds from the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board No. 1, a board of downtown business owners that oversees improvements to Marble Falls’ downtown district.

“We understood there was the opportunity not to have to go through a bond referendum if the project was part of TIRZ and then funded by it,” Hodge told “We’ve been working with our bond attorneys for the last six months. Finally, we were able to get a definitive response from both the state (attorney general) and our bond attorney. They basically said that the bottom line is you need to go through the bond referendum process.”

Parks and Recreation Department Director Lacey Dingman, who is the project manager, explained to councilors during a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 18, that the city would need to have the item submitted to local election officials by August for it to be placed on ballots in the November 2023 election.

“For today’s discussion, we just wanted to show you what it would look like if we were going to try to make a November election,” Dingman said. “We just wanted to get some feedback.”

Mayor Richard Westerman spoke against including the bond referendum on November ballots.

“I think we’re going to have to go through a process before we decide whether or not we want to go out for a bond election that quick,” Westerman said during the meeting.

A potential steering committee of residents could help ease voter concern about the project, Dingman said.

“I think a citizen steering committee is going to be important to us to answer some real, philosophical questions, timetables, and what type of building it is, too,” she said. “It’s going to be important to get their feedback. A City Hall project is not going to be a real easy one on a bond referendum.”

Outside of the proposed site on Broadway, the city is examining other ways to create more space for its departments and entice public-private partnerships by potentially redeveloping the current Marble Falls City Hall at 800 Third St. and the site of the Old Public Works Garden at Avenue J and Third Street.

“I’d also like to see some type of parking arrangement on that side, which would help provide additional parking to our downtown area,” Hodge said.

The city has needed more space for some time, Hodge said, but the project is still in its early days of planning and design.

“The issue has always been the timing,” he said. “We’re adding staff because of growth in the community, and we’re running out of space quick. What we’re trying to do is get out of the old building in a reasonable amount of time.”

Another reason Hodge hopes to have City Hall and other structures built in the near future is to recapture funds lost by leasing spaces to house city departments.

“What we’re doing now is just renting space,” he said. “It’s not going toward a project. It’s just being spent. I don’t necessarily like to lease because I’d rather own it and be able to have staff under one roof.”