Feb 14, 2024 - News

Street fixes, new parks make up bulk of Dallas bond package

A construction crew works on a street in Dallas

Street fixes will be on the ballot in May. Photo: Kathy Tran/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dallas voters will get the chance in May to approve $1.25 billion in bond money to fix streets, develop new parks, and update libraries and cultural facilities.

Why it matters: Dallas' municipal bond programs have been transformational for over a century — providing funding for projects ranging from building a water filtration plant at White Rock Lake in the 1920s to building City Hall.

Driving the news: Wednesday, the City Council approved sending the bond package to voters in May after several delays in the process.

  • This week was the deadline to set a May election. Otherwise, the council could've put the bond propositions on the ballot in November.

Yes, but: Voter turnout in May elections is notoriously low. In last year's mayoral and council election, less than 9% of Dallas County voters cast a ballot.

What happened: Some council members expressed concerns that the vote felt rushed, despite a task force spending months last year to come up with recommendations for how the money should be used.

  • Council member Adam Bazaldua cast the only vote against setting the May election.
  • Council member Cara Mendelsohn said the rushed discussions showed a "very good reason why we should be moving this to November." But she voted in favor of the May election.

Of note: City officials have said they wouldn't need to increase Dallas' tax rate to repay the bond debt.

Details: Voters would need to approve multiple propositions for the full $1.25 in bond money to be dispersed. Here's how the money is divided:

🚦 Proposition A — $516.5 million for building and reconstructing streets, building sidewalks, bikeways, street lighting and other transportation projects.

  • The estimated cost of repayment for the 20-year bonds is nearly $720 million.

🌳 Proposition B — $343.5 million for parks and recreation.

  • $479 million is the estimated repayment cost.

💧 Proposition C — $52.1 million for expanding flood protection and drainage facilities.

  • $72.6 million is the estimated repayment cost.

📚 Proposition D — $43.5 million for renovating city libraries and building a new Bishop Arts Library.

  • $60.7 million is the estimated repayment cost.

ğŸŽ­ Proposition E — $75.2 million for updating cultural and performing arts facilities, including the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Dallas Museum of Art.

  • $104.8 million is the estimated repayment cost.

👮 Proposition F — $95 million for updating public safety facilities and a new police training academy. The city and UNT Dallas, where the academy is planned, received a $10 million grant last week to go toward building the facility.

  • $132.4 million is the estimated repayment cost.

💰 Proposition G — $73.8 million for economic development, including offering incentives for commercial, industrial, retail and residential projects.

  • $118.3 million is the estimated repayment cost.

🏘 Proposition H — $26.4 million for possible land acquisition and construction for affordable housing projects.

  • $42.3 million is the estimated repayment cost.

🚪 Proposition I — $19 million for constructing and expanding public facilities for people experiencing homelessness, including possibly developing permanent and short-term housing.

  • $26.5 million is the estimated repayment cost.

💻 Proposition J — $5 million for improving and expanding IT facilities.

  • $7 million is the estimated repayment cost.

What's next: City staff will provide a more detailed breakdown of how the money in each proposition will be spent by the end of the month.

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