Along with deciding on a slew of candidates for local offices, Frisco voters will also see 29 propositions on the May 4 ballot for a bond and charter election.
The $345 million bond election includes five propositions, and the election to update the city charter includes 24 propositions.
Voters will decide on each proposition separately, resulting in a larger-than-normal ballot in Frisco.
The $345 million bond election’s propositions include funding for public safety, roads, parks, public works and the Frisco Public Library. This is the city’s largest proposed bond package to date.
The Frisco Citizen Bond Committee compiled the recommended propositions and presented them to Frisco City Council on Jan. 15.
“As a committee, what we looked at is the committee goal, which was long-term fixes and efficiencies benefitting the entire city,” committee Chairwoman Shanna Keaveny said.
Two new propositions on the ballot this year that differ from the bond package in 2015 are expanding the public works facility and relocating the library.
The public works facility, located at Research Road and Eldorado Parkway, is planned to add new technology and equipment with the expansion.
The Frisco Public Library is planned to move out of Frisco City Hall and into a space next to Frisco Discovery Center at 8004 Dallas Parkway. This is different from the 2015 bond proposition in which the library was planned to expand within City Hall. Read more about the library bond here.
Keaveny said the bond committee toured various facilities to see what the specific needs are.
“[Departments have] got people almost to the point of bunk beds in their offices to try to cram everybody in,” she said. “We can see how if we cut back on staff too much it’s going to impact the citizens in a negative way; they need to be able to grow.”
Last November, the Charter Review Commission presented 35 recommendations for updating the city charter. Frisco City Council cut that list down to 24 propositions when it called for a charter election.
The most debated proposition is Proposition 1, which would change the requirements for filing for Frisco City Council. It proposes requiring candidates to submit one of two things along with an application to be placed on the ballot: a $200 filing fee or a petition of either 25 qualified Frisco voters or 0.5 percent of the total votes in the last mayoral election, whichever is greater.
The Charter Review Commission added this recommendation to ensure that candidates who were filing for city office had a sincere desire to serve, commission Chairwoman Karen Cunningham said.
The more candidates that are in a race, the greater the chances that race will go to a runoff election. Runoff elections cost Frisco more than $55,000 in 2017, according to the city.
The commission presented the proposition with just the petition. Frisco City Council added the filing fee as an alternative to the petition. Cunningham said the commission discussed whether to add a filing fee and ultimately decided not to include it in the final presentation.
“We wanted to make sure that someone who is economically challenged would not be discouraged from running with a filing fee,” she said.
Cunningham said she felt comfortable with the $200 fee knowing residents could choose to submit the petition instead.
One of the main arguments among City Council members for adding a fee is a bill in the Texas Legislature that would change all uniform election dates to November. Voter turnout for November elections is traditionally higher than elections in May, which is when the city usually holds its general election. Some council members were concerned the required number of signatures for a petition would be unreasonably high if the next mayoral election was held in November.
The Council approved this proposition 4-1 with Council Member Shona Huffman voting against the proposition, saying she could not support the “high numbers” that would be required to file for office. The remaining propositions were approved unanimously.
Another notable proposition would increase the compensation for City Council members. The monthly pay for the mayor and council members would increase by $350.
Cunningham said many people assume City Council members serve full time and are paid accordingly. The proposed increase is to better reflect the time and work the City Council spends on city business, she said.