Council to decide whether voters have a say in $27.9 million debt funding for Lubbock ‘needs’

Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Lubbock City Council’s Future Needs Committee has identified three projects it believes need immediate action and $27.9 million in debt issued as soon as possible to fund them. That funding would possibly through Certificates of Obligation (CO), a way to fund projects without voter approval.

“The CO proposal is based upon: we need to do it now,” Councilwoman Latrelle Joy said at an April 13 council meeting. “If it’s approved, we will move quickly to go ahead and do all the details that are necessary for issuance and get that done. It there is a bond election, that cannot occur until November.”

Joy, Councilman Jeff Griffith and Councilwoman Shelia Patterson Harris make up the committee that introduced its recommendations to the City Council on April 13.

“We’re very proud of the work we’ve done,” Griffith said the council. “Some of it you may or you may not agree with but I just want you all to know that we have studied this and studied it and studied it. We’re trying to do the right thing.”

While it presented many needs, citing public safety, the committee identified the build of Fire Station 20 in south Lubbock, the paving of about five miles of roads across Lubbock and the widening of Erskine Street from the west city limits to Frankford Avenue from two to five lanes as priority needs.

The price tag for those three projects would be $27.9 million. The Unpaved Road Program is estimated to cost $9 million by itself. Each councilmember expressed a desire to see it through quickly. However, some did not want to use COs to fund other projects.

“Outside of the Unpaved Road Program, we need to include our voters on these types of projects,” Mayor Pro Tem Steve Massengale said. “It’s hard for me to support a CO for the fire station and the Erskine piece.

Massengale and Mayor Dan Pope voted against allowing staff to prepare the issuance of COs. With a 5-2 vote, the City Council will be presented April 27th with, “required items to initiate the process of securing funding for said projects through the issuance of Certificates of Obligation.”

As the Council decides on how to handle the investment in the projects, it voted to instruct the Future Needs Committee to continue evaluating the issues facing the City of Lubbock.

To view the April 13 meeting and the presentation of the committee, click here.

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