DALLAS — Voters in the Dallas suburb of Richardson will decide on a four-part, $66 million general obligation bond proposal on May 8.
The briefing materials developed for the City Council by city manager Bill Keffler outlined the projects that could be funded by bond programs of $44 million, $55 million, and $66 million. The council on Monday night unanimously approved the May election date for the $66 million package.
If approved, proceeds would provide $24.7 million for street improvements, $22.6 million for park and recreation projects, $10.5 million for new city facilities, and $8.2 million for neighborhood projects.
Richardson’s GO debt is rated AAA by Standard & Poor’s and Aa1 by Moody’s Investors Service. The city had $189.7 million of outstanding debt at the end of fiscal 2009.
The city said it would sell the bonds in late June if voters approve them in May. The new bonds would require a six-cent increase in Richardson’ property tax rate of 57.52 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
Richardson is located 15 miles north of downtown Dallas and has a population of almost 100,000. Its assessed valuation totaled more than $9.8 billion in fiscal 2009.
Voters approved $55 million of GO bonds in 2006, all of which have been sold. There are $3 million of unissued bonds from a 1997 authorization, but the city will not issue those bonds for the current projects under consideration.
Greg Sowell, director of communications for Richardson, said the council decided on a four-part bond proposal so voters could have their say.
“The council wanted to provide the citizens with a chance to decide what is important,” Sowell said. “They wanted to give the voters the decision to approve all the projects, reject them all, or approve some and turn down others.”
The project list was whittled down from a capital needs list of 455 projects costing a total of $511 million presented to the city council in early December.
Sowell said the city believes the bond election “comes at the right time.”
“Interest rates are low, and we expect construction bids will be lower than historical levels because the economy is sluggish,” he said. “Our bond ratings are good, and we are very fortunate to have a stable tax base.”
Proceeds will finance efforts to widen older alleys to a standard of 10 feet and upgrade several miles of residential streets and sidewalks. New facilities include a fire station, fire training complex, recreation center, and aquatics center.