What to Know
- New website to track bond referendum spending.
- $1.05 billion bond package was approved by voters last year.
- Only about $75 million of the $1.05 billion approved by voters in November 2017 had been awarded.
Dallas City Council Members heard new promises Wednesday on a new approach to accomplishing public improvement projects.
A new website was posted to track the progress.
Council Members have been hearing complaints from citizens for years.
“There’s always excessive delays,” Councilman Rickey Callahan said. “We’ve just had it up to here.”
Kevin Felder has been a Councilman for just one year but resident in his Fair Park area district have been loud and clear about street construction issues.
“I’m getting a number of calls every day. People are upset,” Felder said.
In the past, complications led to long delays on work approved by voters many years ago.
For instance, reconstruction of Sylvan Avenue in West Dallas was first included in a 2006 bond referendum, but complications led to rising costs. Extra money was needed and work only started in 2017. Sylvan Avenue is far from finished now.
West Dallas Councilman Omar Narvaez said people expect better progress on the $1.05 billion bond package approved by voters last year.
“They want to see within the next 5 to 6 years the money spent and on the projects they voted on,” Narvaez said.
That is just what city officials are promising with a new approach to managing bond projects.
The city has hired consultants to act as project managers instead of expecting city workers to get all the work under contract.
Assistant City Manager Majed Al-Ghafry said the outside firms have expertise to solve complications quickly and bring in outside experts if necessary without waiting for city procurement procedures that could take much longer.
Al-Ghafry said the $12.8 million cost for three project management firms will produce larger savings in the long run.
“Having the ability to execute the projects on time and under budget gives us major savings that we can realize,” Al-Ghafry said. “You restore trust of the citizens by insuring that government is taking care of business.”
City Council Members support the new way of doing business.
“I think this is a good way to make sure that within the next 5 or 6 years, all those bond projects are taken care of or started,” Narvaez said.
Some neighbors say they will wait to see if it works.
Ray Rowell runs the Arcade Barber Shop in the Casa View Shopping Center at Gus Thomasson Road and Ferguson Road.
Gus Thomassan has been under construction all year with no evidence of progress through most of the summer.
“We lose money, we lose customers. People are not coming in here because of the street,” Rowell said. “When you don’t hear a lick in almost 4 months out there, something’s wrong.”
Here is a link to the new city website that tracks progress on the 2017 projects. Only about $75 million of the $1.05 billion approved by voters in November 2017 had been awarded, about 7%.
So far, older projects are not tracked on the website but officials said they would be added soon.