Voters OK two of three bond issues
Calling himself "ecstatic" over a mandate to continue street and drainage work in Port Aransas, Mayor Claude Brown on Wednesday, Nov. 6, said he "can't tell voters how much I thank them for their confidence."
Voters overwhelmingly approved two bond projects that would commit a total of $2.685 million to repairing streets and drainage in the city, mostly in the "old town" part of Port Aransas.
Proposition 1, for $1.305 million of bonds for street, curb and sidewalk improvements, passed 959-334, a 74.16 percent approval rate. Proposition 2, for $1.380 million in bonds for drainage improvements, passed 968-317, an approval rate of 75.33 percent.
A third ballot proposition, to repair city hall and add to the building at a cost of $3.775 million, was turned down, 677-605. That meant 47.19 percent of the 1,282 voters who cast ballots on that issue were in favor of the proposition.
Brown attributed failure of the city hall bond issue to a lack of voter confidence in city hall.
"We need to build voter confidence that we'll do what they want us to do," he said the morning after ballots were counted. "They want to see if we're going to carry out our promises."
While Brown said he understood why voters might have turned down the idea of selling nearly $4 million in bonds on top of the streets and drainage projects, he insisted that repair of the city hall building isn't something that will go away.
"This will have to be a priority in the next year or so," he said.
City Manager Michael Kovacs said the council could be asked to act on the election as soon as the November council meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16, at 5 p.m. in the city council chamber. If the matter isn't on the November agenda, Kovacs said it could also be on the December agenda. That meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 21.
The first step for the council will be to approve selling the bonds. However, Kovacs said the city will consult with its financial advisor before that action is taken, to investigate the current bond market. Falling interest rates could dictate waiting a few months to sell the bonds.
In the meantime, the city will go ahead with a drainage project the length of Oleander Street, intended to relieve chronic heavy-rain flooding near Avenue A and Oleander Street and near Alister and Roberts streets. That project is being paid for with city reserve funds, and engineering is already under way for it.
The council has also said it wants to go ahead with improvements at the municipal harbor, another project recommended in this year's facilities study. A workshop on prospective harbor improvements could be scheduled for the council before the end of the year, Kovacs said.