As the city begins to implement its five-year, $236 million bond program, officials have launched a website aimed at making it easier to follow the progress — and the money.
Called Bond Tracker, the site outlines the entire bond program — the city’s largest ever — using interactive maps and graphs to pinpoint the costs and location of each project, as well as its design and construction time line.
“This is a five-year bond program, so it’s going to take awhile to spend all the money,” said Jay Warren, the city’s marketing communications manager. “This will give the public an idea of when they can expect to see construction starting and when that construction should be over.”
The bond program, approved overwhelmingly by voters in November.
▪ $160.1 million is available for rebuilding main thoroughfares as well as numerous, deteriorating neighborhood streets and fixing sidewalks.
▪ $60 million was approved for 16 park projects, including new recreation centers, a second dog park and improvements to several facilities.
▪ $9.8 million will be spent to replace the 60-year-old Fire Station No. 1 downtown and to expand and upgrade the aging Fire Training Center.
▪ $6.1 million will be spent to improve the east and west branch libraries.
The city will sell the approved general-obligation bonds over the next five years and expects to pay them off over 20 years with property tax revenues, a plan that did not require a tax rate increase. This year the design phases of several projects are getting under way. The first dirt will turn in 2016.
“The Bond Tracker is a new approach for us that is really intended to provide residents and businesses with all the information we can,” said Jim Parajon, deputy city manager of economic development. “It’s really consistent with the City Council’s goal of transparency.”
In the city’s previous bond election, voters in 2008 overwhelming approved a five-year, $140.8 million package of road, park, fire station and library improvements. Before that was a successful $84 million bond election in 2003.
The 2014 bond program is just as necessary as its predecessors, Warren said.
“The need is there — repeated in citizen satisfaction surveys and comments,” he said, calling the Bond Tracker an advanced tool to help taxpayers oversee their investment. “We want it to be out there for people to see and to feel ownership over as well.”
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7100
To check out the Bond Tracker program, go to the city’s website at www.arlington-tx.gov and type “bond tracker” in the search field.