DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – One of the most talked about measures on the ballot this election day Tuesday is Dallas’ $1 billion bond program.
Mayor Mike Rawlings urges residents to approve all ten propositions. “I think what’s at stake is really the future of this city. Our streets are critical. Our parks are critical. Our libraries are critical. Those things have got to get fixed,” he said.
More than half the bond money, nearly $534 million, would go toward repairing and rebuilding the city’s crumbling streets.
The other items include:
- Parks & Recreation: nearly $262 million dollars
- Fair Park: $50 million
- Flood control: nearly $49 million
- Library facilities: nearly $16 million
- Cultural and Performing Arts facilities: $14 million
- Public safety facilities: $32 million
- City facilities: $18 million
- Economic development: $54 million
- Homeless assistance facilities: $20 million
Thirty-one community organizations including the major chambers of commerce are supporting the Dallas bond program.
But not everyone does.
Dallas councilman Lee Kleinman says he only supports five of the ten propositions. “The attitude at city hall is tax to the max. Max out the credit card,” he said.
Councilman Kleinman says he supports bond money for adding security to the police stations and building two fire stations because of the urgent need.
He also supports money for Fair Park and parks and recreation because they would improve residents’ quality of life.
Kleinman also believes bond money should be spent on libraries and building facilities to help the homeless.
But he opposes borrowing money for items such as maintaining city and cultural facilities and streets, saying they should be paid for out of the general fund. “If we don’t get out from behind this eight ball of borrowing money, we’re never going to catch up and what we’re doing is mortgaging our future to the next taxpayer and I’m just not comfortable with that,” he said.
Mayor Rawlings disagrees, saying the city has no other choice but the bond program. “The point is, it’ll never get fixed. So the reality is, this is the way we’re going to do it, and I believe the citizens will support it. If it fails we’re going to take a step back in a significant way so everyone needs to get out and support the bond election,” he said.
Supporters like the mayor say the bond program won’t raise the city’s tax rate, but Kleinman says borrowing less would save taxpayers more money and lead to lower tax rates down the road.