Give Your Input On Austin Bonds

Austin Skyline Capitol

What would you like to see the City of Austin spend money on? More parks? Better public transit? Affordable housing?

This is the question the Bond Election Advisory Task Force is asking… and they want to know what you think. The task force is a volunteer citizen group chosen by City Council, the mayor, and a few other local boards and commissions. They’ve been tasked with making a recommendation to City Council on the details of a new bond package that would go to us (the voters) in 2018.

In particular, the task force is looking at funding efforts to address flooding, affordable housing, mobility, high-capacity transit, parks, libraries, and improving existing infrastructure. Along those lines, city staff have identified $3 billion in needsover the next five years. From that list, staff created a $640 million bond package as a starting point for the task force to look at.

The task force is getting close to making its official recommendations to City Council, but first, they want to hear from you. They have published an online survey in order to get a better idea of the public’s priorities. They’re also hosting a series of town halls where public input will be collected. More info>>

2018 Bond Town Halls

Upcoming town hall meetings include:

  • Tuesday, November 28th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at University Hills Branch Library
  • Wednesday, November 29th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at ACC South Campus
  • Thursday, November 30th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Carver Museum
  • Monday, December 4th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Spicewood Springs Library
  • Thursday, December 7th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Hampton Branch Library

Why a bond?
A general obligation bond (as it is formally known) is essentially just a loan taken out by a municipal government. In taking out the bond, the city has to promise to pay back the money to the lenders, often by taxing its own citizens.

The City of Austin holds bond elections regularlyin order to fund everything from the construction of new buildings (like the new Central Library), to parkland acquisition, to affordable housing. These kind of projects are not often funded through the city’s regular annual budget, which mostly just focuses on maintaining existing city services. New programs, initiatives, and even large maintenance/improvements projects often have to be funded through a bond.

However, with affordability an increasingly important issue for Austinites, new bond proposals are often controversial (because they’re generally tied to tax increases). When it comes election time, it will be up to you (the voter) to decide whether or not the bond projects are worth the investment. That’s why it’s important to get involved now – so can help shape what those projects will look like.

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