Plano's Proposed $226.1 Million Bond Package Focuses on Street Repairs, Public Safety and Parks

Plano officials are hoping voters will approve an expected bond referendum in May that would provide much needed money to begin street repairs, public safety projects and the restoration of one of the city's oldest homes.At a city council meeting Monday night, council members heard final presentations from departments regarding specific proposals about what would be included in the bond referendum.City staff also announced they were able to reduce the amount of the proposed bond. In October, city officials said it would cost voters $257.4 million. But on Monday, Karen Rhodes-Whitley, the city's director of budget and research, said staff was able to reduce the package by about $31 million dollars, to $226.1 million. About $90 million of that amount would go toward street improvements.Rhodes-Whitley, said a $226.1 million bond package could potentially raise the city's tax rate about a half cent, to .48 cents, or $14.46 for homeowners with the average Plano home value of $326,099. The city council is not expected to finalize the list of proposed bond projects until Feb. 13. City Manager Bruce Glasscock said that the proposed $90 million for street improvements -- which includes improving screening walls, repairing outdated streets and reconstructing existing sidewalks -- is "the cost of having the infrastructure." "When you are looking at $90 million in street improvements you are talking about our basic infrastructure," he said. "One of the biggest complaints that we continue to hear in all of our surveys is the condition of our streets and the condition of our sidewalks just did not seem prudent to me for me to start whacking away at that infrastructure cost."Although council members won't vote to place the bond referendum on the May ballot until late next month, they did signal their support for the proposal. "I am fully in support of the number we have without any further cutting and would certainly not want to cut any of the infrastructure where we so desperately need to have some work to be done," Council member Rick Grady said Monday. The rest of the proposed referendum sets aside about $31 million for public safety projects; $10 million for library facility expansions; $78.8 million for park projects; $12.5 million for recreation center projects; and $3.5 million for restorations and renovations to the the 155-year-old Collinwood House and other historic preservations.   Continue reading...

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