A $596 million general obligation bond issue outlined to the San Antonio City Council last week would fund infrastructure projects across the city as well as large, high-impact civic efforts.

The City Council is expected to vote early next year whether to hold a bond election in the May 2012 municipal elections.

Voters approved a $550 million general obligation bond program in 2007 after city officials determined that proceeds from several previous $100 million efforts were spread too thinly across the 10 council districts.

According to city manager Sheryl Sculley, the council would be involved in selecting the major projects on the final list.

Mayor Julián Castro said council members will be asked to carefully consider the needs of the entire city when determining which projects should be funded. Even so, Castro said, most of the effort would go to conventional civic improvements such as street and park maintenance.

“We don’t want to get into a provincial mode of thinking, but want to think about what’s in the best interest of San Antonio,” Castro said at the City Council briefing. Only 2% of the proceeds from the 2007 GO bond authorization were earmarked for projects in the city’s central business district, a level that Castro said was too low.

San Antonio’s long-term debt management plan calls for a bond election every five years, said Mike Frisbie, director of capital improvements management for the city.

Frisbie said that the 150 projects funded by the 2007 bond project are 90% finished, with final completion set for June 2012.

He said the $596 million being sought would be divided into five proposals on the ballot, covering streets, drainage, parks, libraries, and facilities, including public safety projects.

The city’s $1.3 billion of outstanding GO debt is rated triple-A by the three major credit-rating agencies.

San Antonio is the second largest city in Texas and the seventh largest in the United States.

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