Plano City Council Calls for $224 Million Bond Election in May

Plano city officials called for a $224.12 million bond referendum on Monday night that, if voters approve, would provide much-needed money to begin street repairs, public safety projects and the restoration of one of the city's oldest homes.The City Council voted 7-0 to call the election for May 6. Council member Angela Miner was not present. In January, council members heard that city staffers were able to reduce the amount of the proposed bond. In October, officials said it would cost voters $257.4 million. But last month, staffers said they were able to reduce the package by about $31 million, to $226.1 million.In a memo to the city manager, staffers announced that number had been reduced by almost $2 million, to about $224 million after the bond counsel determined that a renovation project for the Parkway Service Center, where police cars and ambulances are repaired, was “not compatible with the Public Safety Improvements proposition language.”That renovation project will be completed with reserve funds in 2020, said Karen Rhodes-Whitley, the city’s director of budget and research.That cost reduction also means a potentially lower tax rate. Earlier this year, Whitley said a $226.1 million bond package could potentially raise the city’s tax rate about a half cent, to .48 cents.The new bond total could potentially raise the city’s tax rate about .43 cents, or $12.84 for homeowners with the average Plano home value of $326,099.The rest of the propositions remain unchanged.The newly called bond will address six propositions: about $90 million toward street improvements; $31 million toward public safety improvements; $78.8 million for park improvements; $12.5 for recreation centers; $10 million for library facilities; and $3.5 million for restorations and renovations to the 155-year-old Collinwood House and other historic preservations.The council had previously decided that if voters approve the bond package, the city would restore the home either at its current site or move it to a yet-to-be determined location. But, on Monday, the council amended the wording of that proposition saying that if the voters approve the bond the city would restore the home at its current site, and not relocate it.However, if the bond fails, the city will demolish the home.  Continue reading...

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