Passage of record-high $925 million bond in November is Austin's top priority, mayor says

Austin Mayor Steve Adler speaks at an event on Sept. 6 in support of the $925 million bond voters will weigh in on November.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler speaks at an event on Sept. 6 in support of the $925 million bond voters will weigh in on November.

Exactly two months before the November election, advocates, stakeholders and elected officials gathered in front of Austin City Hall on Wednesday to kick off a campaign aimed at gaining public support of a taxpayer-funded $925 million loan to the city to finance several high-priority, high-cost projects.

The loan, officially known as a general obligation bond, will be up for a vote in November, among the dozens of other elections voters will weigh in on this fall.

The proposed bond sets the bar in a couple ways. It is the largest municipal bond proposal in Austin’s history and it includes the single largest public investment in affordable housing the city has seen—$250 million.

"It feels like everything Austin City Council has done, since it switched to a district representation system in 2015, has led up to this upcoming bond vote," District 4 Council Member Greg Casar said at Wednesday’s event.

For him and the rest of City Council, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Wednesday there is nothing more important between now and November than helping to get the bond passed. The bond, Adler said, opens the door to “real, transformative work” in Austin. Adler said he trusts his dais colleagues will work with constituents to ensure the bond's passage.

On November’s ballot, voters will see the $925 million broken down into seven separate packages: $250 for affordable housing; $160 million for transportation maintenance; $128 million for cultural spaces and libraries; $149 million for parks and recreation; $184 million for flood protection; $16 million for health and human service programs; and $38 million for public safety.

The public awareness campaign for the bond will be run by the Austin Together political action committee. Ted Siff, head of the PAC, said the bond represents an opportunity for everyone to invest in what makes Austin special. Siff said the estimated $5 extra per month the median taxpayer will owe for the next 30 years is “nominal.”

“Give a little, get a lot,” Siff said

With November bringing high-profile elections—including the U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Democrat challenger Rep. Beto O’Rourke; the Texas governor’s race between Republican incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott and Democrat challenger Lupe Valdez—Siff said Austin Together’s campaign is focused on public awareness of the bond, and not getting the vote out.

The election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 6.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Christopher Neely

Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


MOST RECENT

Capital Metro station
All Capital Metro fares will be free throughout April

Beginning April 1, riders will not have to pay Capital Metro operators or use the farebox.

Turnstile Coffee Beer and Spirits
Will they or won’t they? Austin restaurants split on when to open during coronavirus pandemic

While some restaurants have bunkered down to open at later dates, some Austin restaurants are moving forward with service.

Despite heavy restrictions on public gatherings in place, sizable crowds gathered March 24 on the free side of Barton Springs pool, just hours before Austin's stay-at-home order went into effect. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Residents have reported 180 violations since Austin area's stay-at-home order went into effect

No penalties have been issued since the order went into effect March 25.

Austin Public Health officials confirmed the first death from the coronavirus in Travis County on March 27. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First Travis County resident dies from coronavirus

According to public health officials, the woman was in her 70s and had underlying health conditions.

Here is the latest news on stay-at-home orders across the Austin area

Find out if your locale is sheltering in place or what legal consequences the coronavirus is creating in the stories below.

While the agency is still tallying the number of unemployment insurance claims filed thus far in March, in the week prior to March 25, at least 150,000 claims had been filed. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Official: Increase in calls for statewide unemployment benefits is ‘almost vertical’

According to Serna, on an average day the Texas Workforce Commission’s four call centers statewide receive 13,000-14,000 calls; on March 22, the agency received 100,000 calls regarding unemployment insurance benefit inquiries.

A photo of five medical workers wearing hand-sewn masks and holding a sign that reads "Thank you #MakeAMask sewers."
Dripping Springs residents pool efforts to create masks for the Austin area with Make-a-Mask Austin

A Dripping Springs medical administrator drafted people from near and far to make sewn masks for staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Half of the Austin City Council called in remotely for their March 26 meeting, their first since strict social distancing measures went into effect. (Courtesy ATXN)
Austin economic relief efforts underway for renters, workers and small businesses following series of City Council approvals

Council members said the approvals represent only the start of coronavirus relief work coming from the city.

The Austin Board of Realtors is recommending all of its realtor members suspend in-person real estate showings until further notice. (Community Impact file photo)
ABoR ‘strongly discourages’ real estate showings

The Austin Board of Realtors is recommending all of its realtor members suspend in-person real estate showings until further notice.

(Courtesy University of Texas at Austin)
Central Texas officials: 90% reduction in interaction needs to happen immediately

New modeling from UT shows region could run out of hospital beds without reducing interaction.

The majority of sanitizer produced by Desert Door has since been donated to over 30 different first responders departments across Central Texas. (Courtesy Desert Door Texas Sotol)
Desert Door distilling produces, donates over 1,200 gallons of hand sanitizer to first responders, residents

The majority of sanitizer has since been donated to over 30 different first responders departments across Central Texas.

Back to top