DALLAS More than $6.7 billion in bond requests from the state, cities, school districts, and local districts will be on Texas ballots in the Nov. 5 off-year election.
The debt election roundup compiled and posted online for the first time by the Texas comptroller’s office includes details on a state constitutional amendment that would establish a $2 billion statewide revolving water loan program, $3 billion of requests from 40 local school districts, and another $1.7 billion from cities, counties, and community college districts.
Comptroller Susan Combs said if more information is obtained on the 90 debt elections set for November, it will be added to the web page that became operational Sept. 16.
Information posted on the interactive site includes the entity seeking bonds, amount of the debt being sought and the purpose for the bonds.
“The bond election roundup provides additional information to help Texans with a one-stop shop for transparency on debt they may be on the hook for,” Combs said.
Bond elections are listed on a county basis, and jurisdictions that include two or more counties are listed on each county’s section. Clicking on a state map with individual counties show provides information on all bond elections within a county.
“We are placing bond proposition information on an interactive web page voters can click through and see if any entity in their area is holding a bond election,” she said.
The Texas bond election database will be maintained, developed and updated before future May and November bond elections, said Tom Currah, senior advisor and data analysis director for the project.
“The comptroller intends to do this before every bond election cycle,” he said.
Combs is not seeking re-election in 2014. She has been Texas comptroller of public accounts since January 2007.
The bond election data was compiled by searching through the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s EMMA website, newspaper articles, and other sources, Currah said.
“There’s no required reporting to the state of these elections by cities or school districts,” he said. “We even had folks checking with various county clerks and using Google news alerts.”
The only statewide bond question on the November ballot is a constitutional amendment authorizing two revolving bond programs. There are eight other amendments on the ballot.
The Proposition 6 measure, known as the Rainy Day Fund Amendment, would take $2 billion from the state reserve fund to create the State Water Implementation Fund for water supply projects in Texas. The program would be administered by the Texas Water Development Board.
More than 650 amendments have been proposed by the Legislature to the Texas constitution since it was adopted in 1876. Voters have approved 474.
Bond proposals by cities in November include a $123.6 million request from the Austin suburb of Round Rock for public safety facilities and libraries and $75 million from the Dallas suburb of Carrollton for streets, drainage, and public safety.
Austin voters will decide on $65 million of GO bonds to fund affordable housing. McAllen in south Texas wants $45 million of new debt, divided equally among streets, parks, and a performing arts center.
Williamson County in central Texas is asking for $275 million of road bonds and $40 million for parks projects. Harris County is seeking $217 million of general obligation bonds to renovate the Astrodome in Houston, and nearby Fort Bend County is asking for $185 million of new debt to fund mobility improvements.
Ector County in west Texas wants to build a new courthouse at Odessa with $95 million of GO bonds.
South Texas Community College District in Hidalgo County on the Rio Grande is asking for $159 million of bonds to fund classroom buildings.
School district bond referendums include Fort Worth Independent School District’s $489 million proposal and Comal ISD’s $451 million request. United ISD in Laredo is seeking $409 million of new debt to fund new schools and technology upgrades.