General & Bond Election Set for May 6

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Voting signs are posted outside Bowden Elementary School. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Voting sign posted outside Bowden Elementary School.

It’s official: the $850 million 2017 Municipal Bond is now in San Antonio voters’ hands.

City Council unanimously approved Thursday, as expected, the ballot language and date for the Saturday, May 6 General and Bond Election.

Early voting begins Monday, April 24, and ends on Tuesday, May 2.

The approval marked the City’s final bureaucratic step in the process, but Council members will campaign over the next three months to rally yes votes for each of the six bond propositions that will initiate 180 infrastructure, parks, and facility projects across the city without increasing the City’s property tax rate.

Voters will decide if they are for or against the following propositions:

Proposition 1: Streets, Bridges, and Sidewalks Improvements

“The issuance of bonds in the amount of $445,263,000 for Streets, Bridges, and Sidewalks Improvements and levying a tax in payment thereof.”

Proposition 2: Drainage and Flood Control Improvements

“The issuance of bonds in the amount of $138,988,000 for Drainage and Flood Control Improvements and levying a tax in payment thereof.”

Proposition 3: Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Improvements

“The issuance of bonds in the amount of $187,313,000 for Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Improvements and levying a tax in payment thereof.”

Proposition 4: Library and Cultural Facilities Improvements

“The issuance of bonds in the amount of $24,025,000 for Library and Cultural Facilities Improvements and levying a tax in payment thereof.”

Proposition 5: Public Safety Facilities Improvements

“The issuance of bonds in the amount of $34,411,000 for Public Safety Facilities Improvements and levying a tax in payment thereof.”

Proposition 6: Neighborhood Improvements

“The issuance of bonds in the amount of $20,000,000 for funding costs of and implementing the City’s 2017 Urban Renewal Plan and levying a tax in payment thereof.”

The language is simple, but it belies the more than yearlong collaboration among community members, City staff, and elected officials involved in the bond process. Voters who enter the booth without any context – without knowing what bonds are, how they work, and the kind of (or how many) projects they fund – might not vote or vote no.

City staff can’t advocate for yes or no votes, but they can inform. The City has produced printed and online guidebooks to help spread necessary context for the bond election, with Spanish translations coming Monday. Plenty of material is available online at www.sanantonio.gov/2017Bond. City staff is also available to make in-person presentations.

OneSA, a political action committee formed to campaign in favor of the bond, will be organizing events and informational sessions as well. The entire Council has thrown its support behind the bond.

But many Council members, including the mayor, will also be working on their own campaigns for reelection. Voters will select their mayor and district representative on Council on May 6. If none of the candidates receive a majority vote, a runoff will take place on Saturday, June 10.

The bond has become part of many candidates’ platform and talking points, especially for Manuel Medina, the Bexar County Democratic chairman running against incumbent Mayor Ivy Taylor and Councilman Ron Nirenberg (D8).

During a town hall discussion on Tuesday, Medina denounced several big-ticket items included in the bond, including $43 million for three-mile Broadway Street overhaul and $13 million for the Hardberger Park land bridge.

“This bond should not be $850 million,” he said. “[Taylor is] maxing out our city’s credit card.”

That is an inaccurate description of the bond, which does not come close to the maximum amount of debt the City can service. Councilman Alan Warrick (D2) and City Manager Sheryl Sculley both pointed to this fact during Thursday’s discussion.

As Council district races heat up – the deadline to file for office is Friday, Feb. 17 – the bond is expected to become a widely discussed issue across the city.

3 thoughts on “General & Bond Election Set for May 6

  1. Count me as a YES vote for all portions of the bond. We need forethought and investment that continues to redevelop all areas of San Antonio, and these bonds do just that.

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