May 1st Local Election Info, Endorsements and BOND Breakdown!

Early voting starts THIS Monday, April 19 and runs through April 27 (no voting on April 25). See below for voting dates, times, and locations, my endorsements and recommendations, and a breakdown of the bond referendum.

Click a link below to go to that section


Voting Times & Locations

Official Endorsements

Plano City Council

Plano ISD

Allen City Council


Recommendations

Plano City Council

Frisco City Council


McKinney City Council


Bond Breakdown

[Skip to the ballot items]

My overview of this year's bond referendum is long overdue, and for that I apologize. With that, here are bond resources, the process by which they made it onto the ballot, the breakdown of each bond item, and my recommendations.


Bond Resources

The Process

The bond process started out last summer with $404 million worth of proposed bond projects. This is the largest amount of proposed bonds Plano has ever seen on a ballot. To prioritize, the city council created a Bond Referendum Citizen Advisory Committee (BRCAC) to evaluate and prioritize projects. Ultimately, both the BRCAC and city staff provided their respective opinions as to the priority of the various projects. Those projects were grouped under categories and came to council to determine which projects would make it into which categories and at what amounts.


My own personal scoring criteria to determine what I would put on the ballot was essentially whatever both city staff and the BRCAC agreed was high priority. If one felt something was high priority, but the other felt it was low-to-medium priority, I defaulted to the lower, and figured it could wait. The exception was that I simply adopted staff's recommendations for roads, because while the BRCAC prioritized subcategories (e.g. arterial road repair was higher priority than screening walls), staff prioritized in a matrix of individual projects within each subcategory being ranked high, medium, or low. This resulted in staff classifying $32 million in streets projects as low priority, where the BRCAC classified it all as medium or high.


In the end, I wanted to see $228,074,292 worth of bond items on the ballot, which would still have necessitated a small tax increase in a couple of years if all bonds were issued. However, $363,825,000 ultimately passed council to be placed on the ballot, which means only 10 percent of what was originally proposed was cut. If they're all approved, and all issued, that would necessitate a larger tax increase.


Roads

It's worth noting that 64% of all proposed bonds are in Prop A for street improvements. Anyone who's driven in the city knows our roads need work. This is because roads typically last 30 years or so, and our city was built out in bursts around 30 years ago. In short--the warranty's up.


FUN FACT: the sum total of all lane miles of Plano's roads and alleys would stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. It would cost $2 billion to rebuild all of them at once (which we're not going to do... you're welcome).


My Bond Recommendations

I don't recommend voting to approve all bonds on this year's ballot, but the reality is, they're most likely all going to be approved anyway, as bond items very rarely fail to pass because it's an all-or-nothing proposition, and you want the streets to be fixed, but you can't vote for just 3/4 of the street improvements bond. But here's the thing--if a bond item passes, that does not mean the bonds must be issued for the entire approved amount, though most elected officials do just that. If a bond passes, it's permission, not a mandate, so if you don't want to see the maximum possible tax increase, more important than voting for the bonds is voting for council members who won't issue the bonds and raise taxes just because the bonds were approved. Here's a good place to reference my endorsements and recommendations above again.


Bond Ballot Items

Click the link for each proposition to see what's included.

  • Prop A - Street Improvements: $231,000,000

  • Prop B - Park Improvements: $81,935,000

  • Prop C - Tom Muehlenbeck Center: $15,900,000

  • Prop D - Public Safety: $27,000,000

  • Prop E - Facilities: $5,500,000

  • Prop F - Libraries Improvements: $2,490,000

  • Grand Total: $363,825,000 in proposed bonds


Proposition Item Breakdown

Costs are presented as the bond amount / Operating & Maintenance annual expense


Prop A - Street Improvements: $231,000,000

  • Arterial Concrete Street Reconstruction & Overlay: $100,000,000 / $194,884

  • Residential Street & Alley Repair: $70,000,000 / $194,983

  • Residential & Collector Street Reconstruction: $24,000,000 / $400,000

  • Screening Walls: $12,000,000 / $250,000

  • Sidewalks: $5,000,000 / $80,500

  • Intersection Improvements: $4,000,000 / $65,000

  • Alley Reconstruction: $4,000,000 / $91,969

  • Traffic Improvements (traffic technology & traffic safety): $12,000,000 / $0

Prop B - Park Improvements: $81,935,000

  • Community Park Renovations: $20,960,710 / $90k

  • Neighborhood Park Renovations: 9,014,290 / $75k

  • Trail Replacements: $6,500,000 / $0

  • Park Improvements: $5,000,000 / $0

  • Recreational Trails: $5,000,000 / $100,400

  • Maintenance Facility: $13,100,000 / $0

  • Park Restroom Replacements: $4,800,000 / $22,500

  • Irrigation Renovations: $7,220,000 / $0

  • Athletic Field Improvements: $1,500,000 / $0

  • Lighting Replacement: $5,940,000 / $0

  • Median Renovations: $1,500,000 / $0

  • Oak Point Center Exterior Lighting: $80,000 / -$3,090 savings

  • Courtyard Theatre Roof: $600,000

  • Plano Center Roof: $720,000

Prop C - Tom Muehlenbeck Center: $15,900,000 / $0 O&M cost (the center opened in 2007 and is in its 14th year of operation. If the bond is approved and issued, it would be in its 18th year in operation when renovation is completed)


Prop D - Public Safety: $27,000,000

  • Fire Station 5 Renovation: $9,000,000 / $67,220

  • Fire Station 8 Renovation: $12,000,000 / $12,070

  • Fueling Stations: $4,130,000 / $88,000 (would provide two fueling stations to provide guaranteed fuel for city vehicles)

  • Miscellaneous: $2,010,400 / $0

Prop E - Facilities: $5,500,000

  • Council chamber ADA deficiencies (primarily ramps, which are not ADA-compliant)

  • Audio/Video and acoustic improvements to council chambers

Prop F - Libraries Improvements: $2,490,000 / -$7,950 savings

  • Schimelpfenig asphalt parking lot replacement

  • Windows and roof replacements





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