Long road to a city bond election, but it’s a very good one

Posted Thursday, Jul. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Fort Worth officials are taking a long and excruciating route to a May, 2014, bond election, but by the time they get there no one in the city will be able to say they didn’t have a chance to voice their preferences.

Last Saturday at the Hazel Harvey Peace Center southeast of downtown was the first of 19 community meetings to gain neighborhood input on the proposed $292 million bond package.

This is not the first meeting on the bond package by a long shot. The council has been discussing it and staff members have been working on a project list for several months.

The community meetings will continue until November. The staff-recommended project list won’t be finalized until December.

Then it will be up to the City Council to make final decisions on the package that is expected to be submitted to voters in May.

The council has decided to limit the money to be allocated in the bond package to what can be repaid without increasing the property tax rate.

The process is long, the work hard and the decisions as to what stays in the package and what gets put off to another day are difficult. But in the end, this is the best way to set priorities.

The latest item added to the staff list is $1.8 million for an East Lancaster/Oakland Boulevard library requested by District 8 Councilwoman Kelly Allen Gray.

To keep within the $292 million limit, there’s a tradeoff. It means $1.8 million will be deducted from the amount allocated for transportation projects in District 8.

The $1.8 million could pay for purchasing and renovating an existing building. Gray says she hopes to put together a public-private partnership to build a new library.

People who don’t like trading off road money for a library, and those who want to support Gray on the idea, can attend the next neighborhood meeting. It will be 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Meadowbrook United Methodist Church, 3900 Meadowbrook Drive.

That’s the way it works. You look at what’s proposed (the list is on the city’s website, fortworthtexas.gov), go to the meeting and say whether you like it or propose something better.

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