2017 BOND FOR THE MAY 6TH ELECTION
If the people of Plano vote yes on all the propositions, our taxes will go up.
In May, Plano voters will cast their vote for City Council, Mayor, School Board, and Bonds. Plano city government is asking the people to give the green light to borrow $224,120,000. What is so important that we must go into a massive amount of debt? The city's needs of course, but mostly, the city's needless wants.
The following is a list of things the city needs.
$90,270,000 for Street Improvements - Our roads are in need of repair. Some of this is just normal wear and tear. Other improvements listed in the bond is a result of our growing population.
$29 million for a Fire Training Center, a new Northwest Plano Police Substation, and Fleet Service Center renovation:
Right now, our firefighters train in small groups in McKinney. Plano's fire chief said, "It's just not practical to send your resources that far away. You don't send your fire companies to train one at a time because that's not how we fight a fire." The Chief also wants to do training for our vertically growing city. The operating and maintenance costs will be $631,794. This is not included in the bond. So, that will be added to the budget.
Northwest Plano Police Substation - Since the city approved thousands of apartments, our population is growing. A larger population requires more police and another substation. The operating and maintenance costs will be $1,632,414. This is not included in the bond. So, that will be added to the budget.
Fleet Service Center renovation - The Fleet Center is where the city maintains its motor vehicles. The building is in desperate need of repairs.
The following is a list of things the city wants.
$78,850,000 for Park Improvements and Land Acquisitions- The operating and maintenance costs will be $2,561,000. This money would be used to buy land for new parks and improve old ones.
$12,500,000 to improve rec centers:
$10 million for Oak Point Rec Center Pools- The operating and maintenance costs will be $710,000. This is not included in the bond. So, that will be added to the budget.
$2,500,000 for High Point Tennis Center renovation.
$10 million for improvements to Davis and Harrington Library:
$5 million for Davis Library Expansion - The operating and maintenance costs of $301,662. This is not included in the bond. So, that will be added to the budget.
$5 million for Harrington Library Expansion - The operating and maintenance costs will be $199,858. This is not included in the bond. So, that will be added to the budget.
( Honestly, is library use up among Plano citizens? The only time I go to the library is when I vote.)
$3,500,000 for Collinwood House and Historic Preservation - The operating and maintenance costs will be $71,692. This is not included in the bond. So, that will be added to the budget.
The Collinwood House is the oldest home in Plano. It might have been part of the underground railroad. People think there is a family grave site there. This house is something the city government wants to destroy. Residents want to save this historic house. People have offered to take the house off of Plano's hands. The city council declined those financial offers. If someone wants to use their own money to restore the Collinwood House, the city should let them.
At the December 12, 2016, city council meeting Karen Rhodes-Whitley, Director of Budget & Research said, "If the bond goes above $202 million the property tax rate will go up." The bond package totals $224,120,000. Residents are already suffering under the weight of rising property taxes. Now is not the time to raise them.
Propositions 1 and 2 are necessary. The parks, rec centers, and libraries (props 3, 4, and 5) are not. These things could be done with private funds. Additionally, the city does not have to do all of these projects at once. For example, the Parkway & Fleet Service Center needs major repairs. One person who toured the place said that his first reaction was to tear it down and start over. That is an urgent need. Library expansions, a new pro shop for the High Point Tennis Center, and $18 million to buy land... not so urgent. We should not have to go into massive debt and get a tax increase for items that are unnecessary.
As for the Collinwood House and Historic Preservation (prop 6), the city has said it will not cost $3,500,000 to save the house. Also, the city does not have to take the loan. If the voters kick out the present city council members up for re-election and pass this prop, the new council does not have to take this loan, and let someone privately restore the house. If someone wants to use their own money to restore the Collinwood House, the city should let them. If this prop fails the city will destroy the home ASAP. So, I am going to vote yes on this prop and vote for the candidates who will let private funds restore the home.
If we only vote yes on props 1, 2, and 6, the total bond cost would be $122,770,000. That number will not raise our taxes.
That is why I will be voting YES on Propositions 1, 2, 6, and NO on 3, 4, and 5. How you vote is up to you.
This is Plano's Political Pit Bull signing off.