Staff is in the midst of studying infrastructure and facilities to determine which projects should be added to a potential package.
It is estimated the bond will land somewhere around $170 million, Deputy City Manager Don Magner said at an Oct. 19 council meeting. The last bond, which was approved by voters in 2015, totaled $115 million.
This estimate could shift over the next few months based on several variables, such as property value projections, the state of the economy and impacts of the upcoming legislative session, Magner said. The city will not have to raise taxes to pay for the projects, he added.
Competing areas of interest means this bond will look different from those of years past, Magner said. The city has two large-scale redevelopment projects ongoing: the newly minted IQ and the Richardson Core District. These special initiatives will have to be balanced with traditional bond projects, he said.
In weighing projects for the next bond, staff asked council to use a multiple-component litmus test that gauges the project’s cost-effectiveness, urgency, potential to stimulate further investment and ability to be done in phases.
Some projects that are not included in the upcoming bond could be included in a future bond or funded through other avenues, Magner said.
The first deep dive into the condition of city facilities was presented to council Oct. 19, when members had the opportunity to review six conceptual plans for renovations at the library and the City Hall/Civic Center building. Costs of the renovations range between $31 million-$110 million, and estimates are based on a July 2023 construction date, Director of Engineering Shawn Poe said.
The library was built in 1969 at a cost of $2 million. The building is structurally sound but needs work to bring it up to par with the needs of the modern age. In general, staff is proposing more gathering spaces for the community; more classrooms; improved electrical systems, lighting and climate control; and better signage. Three of the six plans also suggest connecting the library to City Hall.
The Civic Center was built in 1980 at a cost of $3.9 million. It is also in good condition; however, it needs work to be more secure and versatile. Staff is asking council to consider converting the civic center to make more space for city departments; enhancing accessibility for disabled visitors; and clarifying the location of the front door. The current building has two entrances, which makes it difficult for visitors to know where to enter.
Over the next few months, staff will return to council on a regular basis to provide deep dives into different facilities and systems. The package of projects should be finalized between May and July, and council will vote to call the election in August. If approved, the bond election would be held next November.