Mayor Annise Parker today unveiled a $410 million public improvement bond package that she will ask City Council to place on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval.
“I realize many Houstonians are still recovering from the economic downturn,” said Mayor Parker. “That is why it was important to me to present a plan that does not require a tax increase. It is also the smallest bond proposal in more than 30 years. It is a fiscally responsible approach that will create jobs and improve public safety, infrastructure and quality of life.”
In addition to being the smallest bond referendum in 30 years, the mayor’s proposal is approximately $135 to $350 million less than the three previous bond referendums Houston voters have considered in the last 15 years. This is due to ReBuild Houston’s pay-as-you-go approach, which provides approximately $125 million of debt free street and drainage improvements annually. In the absence of ReBuild Houston, the bond request would be larger.
Voter approval would provide funding for city public improvements for the next five years. The needs range from roof and foundation repairs at city-owned buildings to entirely new police and fire stations as well as improvements to parks, libraries, health, trash and recycling facilities. There is also $100 million included in city matching funds for the Bayou Greenways Project, a $200 million initiative to complete a 100-year old vision of continuous public parks and trails alongside every major bayou segment in the City of Houston.
“Mayor Parker’s commitment to seek the smallest bond measure ever while still ensuring that Houston moves forward with the Bayou Greenways Initiative demonstrates how a fiscally responsible public official can still deliver on key quality of life issues,” said Roksan Okan-Vick, executive director for the Houston Parks Board, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating, improving, and protecting Houston’s parks. “By creating more parks and lining the bayous with walking and biking paths, Houston will become the number one city in America for safe, off-street walking and biking paths. That is truly transformative for this city."
The bond package also includes:
$144 million for public safety needs, including:
Improvements at neighborhood police stations citywide
Expansion of Fire Station 55, City Council District D
New fire station to serve Pine Brook area, City Council District E
Expansion of Fire Station 22, City Council District I
Fire station maintenance/improvements citywide
Facility security improvements
Other building repairs
$63 million for health, sanitation/recycling, and general government improvements at city facilities not included in the other categories:
Renovation of the Westpark recycling facility, City Council District J
Renovation of the Central Depository, City Council District I
Possible repair of Sunnywide Multi-Service Center, City Council District D
Repairs to City Hall and City Hall Annex
$15 million for affordable housing. These dollars will be used for demolition of blighted properties to make way for new affordable housing.
$28 million for libraries, including:
Renovation of the Montrose Library, City Council District D
Replacement of the Moody Library, City Council District H
Replacement of the Meyer Library, City Council District K
Renovation of Robinson-Westchase Library, City Council District F
$160 million for parks, including the Bayou Greenways Project and: Improvements at Haden, Busby Park, Judson Robinson Sr., Jaycee, Wright, Bembry, Hermann, Alief, Nieto, Squatty Lyons, Gragg, Braeburn, Glen and Wildheather parks
“I am committed to jobs, public safety, infrastructure, fiscal responsibility and quality of life because I want Houston to continue to be the best place to live, work and raise a family,” said Mayor Parker. “This bond referendum package furthers this goal and does so without requiring a tax increase. I look forward to City Council’s input and support of placing it on the November ballot.”
Swimming pool upgrades and replacements
Ball field lighting upgrades
Trail replacement and overlays
Bayou Greenways Project