DALLAS - Voters in more than 20 counties in Oklahoma are deciding today on almost $400 million of city and school bond proposals, along with requests to raise taxes for a jail, a courthouse, and a hospital.
The total includes $356.7 million of school bonds and the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow's request for $38.5 million of general obligation bonds.
Major propositions on Oklahoma ballots today include $153.4 million of lease revenue bonds being sought by the Tulsa County Independent School District No. 3 and $96.7 million of GOs requested by the Oklahoma County Independent School District No. 4.
If voters approve the proposition, Tulsa County ISD No. 3 will use approximately $115 million of the proceeds from the lease revenue bonds, which will be issued by a separate public property corporation, to build several schools and renovate others. The district, which serves the Tulsa suburb of Jenks, has earmarked $38.5 million for technology and library updates, and $800,000 for new buses.
The public property corporation will build the facilities and lease them to the district. As the district makes the lease payments, it will acquire a portion of the financed projects. When the bonds mature, the district would own the facilities.
The school district's bonds are rated Aa3 by Moody's Investors Service.
Oklahoma County ISD No. 4, which serves the Oklahoma City suburbs of Choctaw and Nicoma Park, is seeking $96.7 million of bonds to finance a new middle school and a new elementary school. The district will also add another 45 classrooms to existing schools, upgrade the athletic facilities at secondary schools, and improve district-wide security efforts. The district will also use $1.8 million of the proceeds for new buses.
The Oklahoma County Independent School District No. 2, which operates the schools in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond, is requesting $36.2 million of GOs. The district will build new classrooms at several elementary schools and add facilities to a high school and middle school. The district will also spend $800,000 on new school buses.
Oklahoma County ISD No. 2's GO bonds are rated AA by Standard & Poor's.
The Broken Arrow bond package includes $15.3 million for street renovations and maintenance, $12.7 million for parks projects, $7.1 million for public safety, and $3.3 million for the first phase of storm water drainage system improvements.
City spokesman Keith Sterling said approximately $3 million of the public safety proceeds would finance a new animal shelter for Broken Arrow.
"The old shelter is in pretty bad shape," Sterling said. "The projects in this bond package are based on citizen feedback, and a new shelter was seen as a top priority."
If voters approve, the bonds will be sold over three years to keep the property tax rate at its current level. The council originally considered a project list totaling $48 million, but whittled it down to avoid a tax increase from the current 15 mills.
The city's GOs are rated A1 by Moody's and A-plus by Standard & Poor's. Broken Arrow has $65.4 million of outstanding debt.