Plano Star-courier > News
Plano proposes new bond package
Road construction and parks and recreation projects will be the focus of a $154 million bond package set to go before voters next year.
Due to existing debt coming off the books in the next several years, the impact of the bond package to the tax rate will be softened, said Karen Rhodes-Whitley, the city's budget director.
"With the four-year plan, the maximum tax rate impact is 2.6 cents, which would equate to $50.37," she said. "That is at the end of four years -- it is cumulative ... This is based on the average home value, which is currently $243,118."
The preliminary project list presented to the city council on Monday includes $8 million in improvements to Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, as well as $7 million in general park improvements. Money has also been earmarked for improvements to several recreation centers and for the expansion and upkeep of the city's trail system.
In addition to the $76 million set aside for parks and recreation, $56 million will be used on road construction and repair. Several major thoroughfares would receive money from the package, including Spring Creek Parkway, Park Boulevard and Marsh Lane.
A separate proposition on the ballot will seek voter approval for the revocation of the authority to sell the remaining $14.2 million in bonds that were earmarked for the Arts Center of North Texas.
The preliminary list of projects will likely change prior to Election Day on May 11. Input will be received from various boards and commissions, and city staff will also accept public input on the proposed projects throughout the month of November.
Beginning Nov. 1, the city will seek public input on the preliminary list and also ask residents to propose their own projects via the city's Engage Plano website. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 26 regarding resident-initiated projects. Once this input is received, the city council will begin finalizing the bond proposal.
"In December and January, each of the departments ... will provide more details regarding the projects that are included in this list," Rhodes-Whitley said. "Decisions will be made during that time regarding what you want to remain on the list, and what should fall off the list."
A final decision on which projects are included will be made by the city council in February, Rhodes-Whitley said, adding that any changes to the preliminary list could result in the 2.6 cent tax rate impact changing.
The council also heard a report from Chief Parks Planner Robin Reeves, who said several parks and recreation projects from the 2005 and 2009 bond programs with a cost of $52 million are still pending.
These projects include an 18,000-square-foot outdoor center at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve, the construction of White Rock Creek Community Park, and the expansion of the city's senior center. The projects were delayed because city staff didn't feel there was adequate money in the general fund to cover the operating and maintenance costs associated with the individual projects, Reeves said.
"We could probably spend two to three years completing these projects if we knew that we had the operating funds to support them once they were built," Reeves said.