Yesterday Garland voters passed all nine propositions on the ballot. Eight of those were bond items, totaling $423.7 million. Voters in District 8 strongly supported the majority of the bond proposals as well. In the coming weeks we’ll prioritize the building and delivery of the bond items. My priorities have been and will continue to be:
- Police Evidence Room
- Animal Shelter
- Naaman School Rd
I’ll work with the council and staff to make these proposals a reality.
I also want to set expectations on timing. While the evidence room and shelter can be designed and completed in the next 12-18 months with relative ease, Naaman School Rd will take longer to engineer. I expect us to break ground within 3-4 years. We’ll be working on two bridges, working with a railroad and txdot, and bringing the road up nearly 18 feet out of the flood plain. The project will be a tough one, but it is one that we’re committed to seeing through.
We’re also going to work to pay for these projects in a fiscally responsible way. The council has indicated a willingness to minimize the interest on our debt. That will be something that we tackle over the summer and into early fall. Depending on the Texas Legislature, certified property values, and what we’re able to do to extend senior / homestead exemption amounts, we’ll be able to figure out the impact on your annual property taxes. With all propositions passing, if you own an average home ($182k) in Garland and have a homestead exemption, your tax burden for these projects will be roughly: Annually: $142.32 / Monthly $11.86
I’ve made my position clear many times on taxation. It’s my belief that your money is best spent by you. However, bond proposals require funding and you the voters have told me via the ballot box that you want these projects. It is my job to vote to approve the funding to pay for them in a way that does not bankrupt future generations. With that said, this year I will vote for a tax increase to our debt service rate that appropriately funds these projects while minimizing interest payments on our debt.
Based on the election results, you’ve also told me that you are concerned about both the municipal facilities and economic development parts of the bond. I will spend significant time reviewing and critiquing projects that are funded by those two buckets and hold them to a higher scrutiny to ensure that your tax dollars are spent as wisely as possible. The bond amount is a maximum funding amount set aside for each project. I will do everything possible to ensure that those projects come in under budget.
As always, I will continue to search for ways to cut taxes responsibly, and reduce spending on our O&M side to help offset these increases. Thank you for showing up to the polls and telling me how you want us to move forward as a city.