Last Tuesday, the residents of Dallas overwhelmingly passed all 12 bond propositions, allowing the city to invest $1.35 billion over the next 4 1/2 years to improve our streets, parks, libraries, city police and fire facilities, and other city infrastructure. District 14 turned out the largest number of voters to support the bond.
As we move forward with the 2006 bond, I wanted to address some questions and concerns I’ve heard about city bonds, and also give you an update on the 2003 bond program.
People ask me all the time, “Why isn’t the city finished with the 2003 bond yet?” The 2003 bond was never intended to be completed until next year. The 2003 bond provided for a 4-year bond sale. For financial and practical reasons, we can’t sell all the bonds at once; the market wouldn’t bear it, and we couldn’t find enough contractors to build all of the projects at once. So about a quarter of the bonds are sold every year over four years. Each year, the city takes the money from that year’s bond sale and undertakes bond projects.
As of today, 90% of the 2003 bond projects for which bonds have been sold are either completed or on schedule. The 2006 bonds will be sold over 4 1/2 years, starting in May, then every November after that for four years.
Another concern I’ve heard is that “The city does whatever it wants with the bond money; what you’re voting for isn’t really what you get.”
I want to assure you that Dallas will get what it voted for, and that each and every dollar of the $1.35 bond package is allocated to a particular project. The projects are highly detailed. For example: Street Resurfacing: Abrams Rd. – Crestmont Dr. to Fisher Rd. $89,852. You can see all the projects at the city’s website at www.dallascityhall.com.
The city does have the ability to reallocate funds within a bond proposition. For example, funds from one library project could be reallocated to another library project. The city couldn’t spend the money on a different proposition, like parks or streets.
HOWEVER, the city rarely reallocates bond funds. Of the 1500 projects from the 2003 bond only THIRTEEN have been reallocated. That’s less than 1%. Why were these funds reallocated? Sometimes grant money, or state or federal funds, were secured to fund the project. Other times, a neighborhood decided against a specific project that they had petitioned for. So Dallas taxpayers can feel secure that they will get the projects they voted for.