Process begins for possible $409.5 million bond referendum in Plano

Recommended projects include the remodeling of two fire stations, roof replacements for municipal facilities, continued phases of improvement projects at Los Rios and Jack Carter parks, and street repair and reconstruction. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Recommended projects include the remodeling of two fire stations, roof replacements for municipal facilities, continued phases of improvement projects at Los Rios and Jack Carter parks, and street repair and reconstruction. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Recommended projects include the remodeling of two fire stations, roof replacements for municipal facilities, continued phases of improvement projects at Los Rios and Jack Carter parks, and street repair and reconstruction. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

The first public view into the process behind a possible Plano bond election in May began with a presentation of $409.5 million in recommended projects at an Oct. 26 City Council meeting.

The recommendations include roughly 27 departmental facilities projects, 19 park improvement projects, a single recreation center project and 20 street improvement projects, according to the presentation. Proposals include the remodeling of two fire stations, roof replacements for municipal facilities, continued phases of improvement projects at Los Rios and Jack Carter parks, and street repair and reconstruction.

If the entire preliminary bond were to receive approval from council and voters, there would be a projected tax rate increase of of $.0343 per $100 of assessed property value beginning in 2025. An increase would not be expected until the final year of the four-year issuance of the bond and would cause the average Plano homeowner's tax bill to increase by $109.21 in fiscal year 2024-25.

"Over the last 20 years, we always issue what we feel like the projected tax rate change could be during the time period," Budget Director Karen Rhodes-Whitley said. "However ... we've only had to increase our tax rate [once] ... back in 2009 ... for the start of the great economic downturn."

In addition to the complete list of projects, city staff also prepared alternative referendum options valued at $101 million, $350 million and $375 million. The only package with no impact on the tax rate in 2025 is the $101 million option, according to the presentation. The other two options would have just under $100 in property tax impact for the average homeowner.


The city also has roughly $80 million remaining to issue for previous voter-approved bond packages. Officials plan to issue this sale in spring 2021 to finish out the 2013, 2017 and 2019 bonds, according to Rhodes-Whitley.

Next steps in the bond planning process include a review of recommended projects by city boards, commissions and City Council before a public hearing for citizen input Nov. 23. Council will receive input from city boards, commissions and the Citizen Advisory Committee and will discuss proposed projects over three meetings in December and January . Additional public hearings will take place Dec. 14 and Jan. 11.

Over January and February, council will decide which items residents will see on their ballots. A virtual town hall on the bond is scheduled for April 22, and other educational meetings will be held by community and civic groups in March and April, according to the presentation.

Early voting is expected to run from April 19-27 and Election Day is May 1.

The presentation for the bond referendum can be viewed in full here.
By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano and Richardson, including Plano City Council and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


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