Voters asked to ok bonds to pay for infrastructure repair
State law may prohibit the city from taking a position on the upcoming bond election, but city council members have made no secret about where they stand.
Mayor Claude Brown tells a stream of people who come before the council to complain about streets and flooding that the council is moving forward with programs designed to help as fast as it can.
Council members Bubba Jensen and Rick Pratt, in particular, have been critics of the city's lack of maintenance in the past and the need to repair and replace facilities that are crumbling.
The three items on the Tuesday, Nov. 7, ballot wouldn't solve those problems, but they'd take a large first step in that direction.
Proposition 1 on the ballot addresses streets and drainage in areas that include East Cotter Avenue, Leslie Lane, South Station Street and La Ronda Street.
Proposition 2 concentrates on drainage on Station and Alister streets, storm water outfalls 14 and 19, the city's concrete drainage structure that leads to the flats south of town and Avenue A.
Proposition 3 would repair a leaky roof in city hall and expand the building to give city staff more working space as well as moving the Parks and Recreation Department from a second-hand portable building that has holes in the roof and floor.
All three propositions have been detailed in the first three parts of this series, beginning Thursday, Oct. 12. Together, they would total $6.46 million in general obligation bonds, or loans, that the city would repay over a period of years. Streets and drainage bonds are generally 15-year bonds; other municipal bonds are normally for 20 years.
Voters rejected a pair of bond issues two years ago that would have done much of the same work on streets and drainage that the first two propositions propose. However, the consensus among council members is that residents didn't have enough information about the bond issues to vote intelligently on the matter. They're hoping to remedy that this time around.
City Manager Michael Kovacs has been making presentations to civic groups over the past month, explaining the ballot and how it will affect the city. Those groups have included Rotary, Kiwanis and the Port Aransas Garden Club. Kovacs said if all three items are passed, it would raise property taxes on a home valued at $275,000 this year from $673.01 to $819.75 a year in 2007, an increase of $146.74.
In response to suggestions that the city take the money from its regular, annual budget, Judy Lyle, assistant city manager and finance director, said to pay for the projects in a lump sum would require doubling city property taxes.
Early voting runs through tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 3.
Election day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, polls will be open at the Community Center 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
The South Jetty Web site, www. portasouthjetty.com, will be updated with election results as they become available Tuesday evening and/or Wednesday morning, Nov. 8.