Richardson nears end of $115 million bond program, ramps up planning for potential 2021 package

Deputy City Manager Don Magner briefed council on the city's progress in finishing the 2015 bond program while planning for the 2021 package at a July 20 meeting. (Courtesy Citizen Information Television)
Deputy City Manager Don Magner briefed council on the city's progress in finishing the 2015 bond program while planning for the 2021 package at a July 20 meeting. (Courtesy Citizen Information Television)

Deputy City Manager Don Magner briefed council on the city's progress in finishing the 2015 bond program while planning for the 2021 package at a July 20 meeting. (Courtesy Citizen Information Television)

City officials in Richardson are wrapping up projects from the 2015 bond program while simultaneously planning for the next referendum, tentatively scheduled for November 2021.

The last municipal bond was approved in 2015. Projects in the $115 million program were parceled out over a six-year period and covered improvements to public buildings, streets, parks and sidewalks.

“Every part of the community was touched by the bond program in one way or another,” Deputy City Manager Don Magner said at a July 20 council meeting.

Two of the major projects still in the pipeline are enhancements to the public library and City Hall. The city was fortunate, Magner said, to have waited until the end of the 2015 program to advance on these plans, as many decisions about improvements will likely have to be made with new safety and hygiene guidelines in mind.

“The timing is really fortuitous if we are going to do some things to [make the projects COVID-19]-proof,” he said.


Staff will bring forth recommendations for these buildings in October, Magner added.

Seven remaining street projects from the 2015 program are either in the design phase or under construction, Magner said. One of the major projects includes improvements to Custer Road between Campbell and Arapaho roads and along Prairie Creek Drive from Campbell to Collins Boulevard.

Initial cost estimates have changed since they were developed in 2014, Magner said. This is due both to scope changes and inflation, he said. To complete the remaining road project, the city will have to pay an additional $7.5 million more than originally budgeted.

“We had no idea the kind of inflation that we were going to experience as a result of the crazy, robust economy we have had in North Texas, so we are seeing a pinch on some of the Year 5 and 6 projects,” Magner said.

Another $625,000 will be needed for renovations to the Richardson Senior Center, and $2.5 million will be needed to finish construction on the new Richardson Public Safety Campus, Magner said.

Just over a year remains until the city plans to bring its next bond package to voters. Staff chose November 2021 for the election because there are few other competing races, Magner said.

“It really provides the public with the opportunity to ... educate themselves about the different propositions and choices before them,” he said.

For the next several months, staff will work with council members to refine potential projects for the 2021 bond, Magner said. Recommendations for improvements will come from several ongoing studies into the improvement of streets, traffic signals, drainage infrastructure, parks, buildings and more, he said.

Budget constraints brought on by COVID-19 will be taken into consideration when deciding which projects are in the best interest of the city’s bottom line, Magner said.

“Unlike previous bond programs, ... we will have to continue to really focus on operational recurring costs of any decisions we make in terms of capital and what that might mean for year-in, year-out budgeting,” he said.

Propositions will be finalized between May and July of 2021. If voters approve the package in November 2021, projects would begin in 2022 and last through 2026.
By Olivia Lueckemeyer
Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


MOST RECENT

Volunteers prepare care packages for those found unsheltered and facing homelessness on the night of the point-in-time count in 2019. (Courtesy Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance)
Annual homelessness count adapted to answer questions brought on by pandemic in Collin, Dallas counties

The point-in-time count in Collin and Dallas counties will not look like it has in recent years, when upward of 1,000 volunteers would canvas the streets to get an accurate count of the number of unsheltered residents facing homelessness.

COVID-19 vaccines
DATA: Texas has vaccinated about 9% of estimated Phase 1 recipients

Over 1.1 million individuals from the Phase 1 population, which is estimated to include 13.5 million individuals total, have received at least one dose.

Bob Popinski, policy director of Raise Your Hand Texas, shared the organization's top education priorities for the ongoing legislative session. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
‘What does virtual learning and remote learning look like moving forward?': Raise Your Hand Texas policy director talks legislative priorities

Bob Popinski is the director of policy for Raise Your Hand Texas, an Austin-based organization committed to improving public education. He spoke with Community Impact Newspaper in late December about the 87th legislative session, which began Jan. 12.

iDanz Performing Arts Studio offers dance lessons in various styles, such as hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet, Afro-fusion and more. (Courtesy iDanz Performing Arts Studio)
iDanz Performing Arts Studio to hold open house for new Richardson location

The studio’s instructors specialize in dance, choreography, show production and artistic development.

A Layne's Chicken Fingers restaurant will open in Roanoke in 2021 at the site of the former Dairy Queen on US 377. (Courtesy Layne's Chicken Fingers)
Layne's Chicken Fingers to open in Roanoke; meat, seafood market set for Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The British Emporium offers a wide selection of imported goods and groceries. (Courtesy The British Emporium)
British Emporium to continue operating at Fish & Fizz in Richardson

The business offers traditional British foods, such as brandy butter, mince pies, crackers and more.

The new 945 area code will be deployed Jan. 15 for the region that presently uses area codes 214, 469 and 972. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Frisco gets new area code; Popeyes to open in McKinney and more top DFW news

Read the top news from the past week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Burnt BBQ & Tacos' menu offers several different barbecue and taco options. (Courtesy Burnt BBQ & Tacos)
Burnt BBQ & Tacos opens in Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The candidate filing period for the May 1 Richardson City Council election will remain open until Feb. 12. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Six candidates file to run for Richardson City Council in May

Three incumbents and three newcomers had submitted applications to run in the May 1 election on first day of the filing period.

The candidate filing period for the May 1 Richardson ISD board of trustees election will remain open until Feb. 12.  (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Filing period now open for Richardson ISD board of trustees election

The filing window for the May 1 election will remain open until Feb. 12.

The candidate filing period for the May 1 Plano ISD board of trustees election will remain open until Feb. 12. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
2 Plano ISD incumbents file for board of trustees election

The candidate filing period for the May 1 election will continue until Feb. 12.

Lake Highlands Junior High could be replaced as part of the $750 million bond package under consideration by the Richardson ISD board of trustees. (Courtesy Richardson ISD)
Steering committee recommends $750M bond package to Richardson ISD board

Among proposed projects is the first phase of construction at junior high campuses to make room for district sixth graders.