Amarillo-Canyon Metro Area has $600 Million in Debt

- AMARILLO -- Texans are paying the price for our economic success.
    According to the Texas Bond Review Board, some areas of the state are in debt to the tune of a $1 billion.
    Because the economy is performing so well, we're quickly growing.  And, with that growth comes the need for more services like schools and streets.

    Cities, counties and school districts are having to borrow more money to keep up with the growth.

    The Amarillo-Canyon metro area owes more than $600 million.

    Amarilloans are on the hook for most of it.

    Including interest and outstanding debt, Amarillo's in the hole for more than $182 million.

                                 Debt Service     Debt per resident/student

* Amarillo               $182.7 Million                  $763
* Potter Co.               $8.3 Million                   $68
* Randall Co.            $49.1 Million                  $283
* AISD                    $270.3 Million              $5,185
* CISD                    $122.5 Million              $8,919

    This data is a year old, so some of the numbers have changed.
    In Potter county for example, the data shows they have a debt of more than $8 million.  But, the county auditor says they've recently paid that down to $6.6 million.

    On the other end, Randall county's debt is actually higher than the numbers show.  Their debt is at $53.4 million.

    Amarillo city manager Jarrett Atkinson says the numbers are a bit deceiving.  He doesn't disagree with the total debt, but, how it's supported.

    For instance, the debt owed on the $11million terminal at Rick Husband Amarillo International airport comes from a tax-backed system.
    That means it doesn't come from your property taxes.  It comes from a passenger facility charge (PFC).

    "If you're using the airport, you're getting on the airplane,  that amount comes off of your ticket and comes to us, that's what we use to pay the debt with.  It is guaranteed, if you want to use that word, by the ad valorem tax from the city but, no ad valorem tax is being used to pay it."  Atkinson said.

    Atkinson says property taxpayer supported debt is actually closer to $25 million.

    Atkinson says the downtown revitalization projects are not a part of the current debt.

    But, that will change once they're completed.

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