By Davis Rankin
McAllen started a campaign to tell voters what’s at stake in a proposed $25 million bond issue up for a vote on May 5.
City staffers will provide information on drainage and traffic improvements on the ballot but they are not to campaign for or against anything, said City Manager Roy Rodriguez this week.
Voters will have two propositions to decide. Proposition B would spend $3 million on traffic issues: new traffic controllers, signal detection maintenance and a traffic congestion study. Rodriguez said the money would go “specifically to improve mobility through signalization.”
If voters approve the spending, he continued, it would take three to five years before there is visible improvement in traffic flow. Needing to ‘do something about traffic’ has been a continuing topic brought up at commission meetings. Mayor Jim Darling has said the city needs to start establishing east-west fast-moving streets now that the city has dedicated certain streets as north-south fast-movers.
Rodriguez said they hope, eventually, to have a ‘traffic central’ which will allow staff to check lights and make signalization changes remotely rather than having to send someone into the field to trouble shoot and fix problems. This spending will move the city toward that goal, he said.
Proposition A would raise $22 million for 23 projects throughout the city.
The city’s 2015 Citizens Survey said the city manager, showed residents’ three top concerns as flow of traffic, storm water management and maintenance of facilities. The city takes care of maintenance in its yearly budget but traffic and drainage are “big ticket items.”
City staffers drew up a list of drainage projects, their costs and identified revenue sources for each one, he said. They figured out six different money sources, including grants and federal and state money. When they were done, said he, the total amount was almost $50 million and after taking into account all the other money sources, a bond issue is the last revenue source needed to complete the projects.
For many years, Rodriguez explained, the city’s capital improvement projects were paid for with natural gas royalties the city collects. That used to be as much as $7 million a year, but it has dwindled to “$100-200,000” a year.
The city has set Town Hall meetings at which commissioners and staffers will be available to answer questions:
- Mon. April 16, 2018, 5:30 p.m., Palm View Community Center, 3401 Jordan Rd. W
- Tues., April 17, 2018, 5:30 p.m., McAllen Public Library, 4001 N. 23rd St.
- Tues., April 18, 2018, 5:30 p.m., Lark Community Center, 2601 Lark Ave.
- Tues., April 24, 2018, 6:00 PM, Lark Community Center, 2601 Lark Ave.
- Thurs., April 26, 2018, 5:30 p.m., Tres Lagos Community Center, 5100 Tres Lagos Blvd.
On Wednesday evening at 6:30, at the McAllen Public Library, civic group FUTURO McAllen will also have a presentation on the bonds and staffers will be there to answer questions. It is open to the public.
Early voting runs April 23 to May 1. The city website has more information at: http://www.mcallen.net/departments/secretary/city-elections/bond-election-2018 and https://www.mcallen.net/docs/default-source/2018-Bond/bond-2018.pdf?Status=Temp&sfvrsn=6