By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – This week Lubbock City Council will discuss borrowing more than $129 million dollars in bonds next month for 42 various projects that total $122 million. These projects were approved by the city without a public vote, but the voters did have the chance to voice their opinions through public hearings.
"It's a large amount of money but it's not something that sprung up today to do," said Tom Martin, Lubbock Mayor. "These projects many times like the Lake Alan Henry project have been underway for years."
Mayor Martin said the dozens of projects within their Capital Improvements Program with the price tag of $122 million dollars are revenue bonds that the council approves without a public vote. These projects improvements include things like $175,000 for a new restroom at the Berl Huffman Complex and more than $5 million for updates and expansion at the airport.
The biggest chunk of the bond package is $46 million for needed sewer updates including the sinking 98th Street and another $41 million for water improvements. "The $41 million for the Lake Alan Henry project is basically the last payment on that multi-year project," said Martin. "If we hadn't of done it by summer of next year, 2012, you'd turn the tap on and there wouldn't be any water because Lake Meredith is drying up," said Martin.
Tax payers have already felt the effects with their water and sewer bills going up last month to pay for the bonds the city is about to sell this week. On Thursday council will adopt a notice to let bidders and contractors know they'll issue the $129 million in bonds. Then on February 24th the bidding will close with council contracting these projects to the bidders with the lowest interest rates.
The city will also issue bonds for another $14 million dollars that voters approved in 2004 and 2009 during bond elections. Since these projects were passed by voters, these bonds will be paid for by property taxes. This past year property taxes were raised one cent to help pay the bonds, and Martin said they'll continue to go up.
"This next year when we get to budget time we're probably looking at another two to three cent increase in property tax rate to pay for these bonds we're fixing to sell, so yes voters knew that and they approved the projects," said Martin.
To view a detailed list of the 42 projects costing $122 million dollars (CLICK HERE.)
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