Frisco bond language allows for flexibility

This Saturday, Frisco voters will weigh in on eight bond propositions, each one with a description the length of one sentence.

Though the bond propositions briefly describe the proposed projects, specific plans are not spelled out on the ballot.

Assistant City Manager Nell Lange said the propositions are written broadly to allow the city to adjust original plans if needed.

“They try to write it broad enough so that you’re not hemmed in but so that you’re still doing what you told the citizens you were going to do,” she said.

For instance, the bond proposition for funding road projects does not list out specific roads that will be funded if the bond is sold. The city has a general idea of what projects should receive bond funds, Lange said, but those plans could change in the next few years.

“We don’t list every road when we write the proposition because circumstances change,” she said.

The city’s bond attorney writes the proposition language and sends the propositions to city council to review and make revisions if needed, Lange said.

If the proposition language is written too specifically and the plans for that bond project change, the city may not be able to fulfill the project at all, Lange said.

That situation happened in 2006 when voters approved bond funds to renovate the former city hall building for a court facility on McKinney Street. Because of the way the proposition was worded, the city could not use the money for anything else but constructing a court on McKinney Street, which would have cost more than what the proposition authorized, Lange said. The bond, therefore, was not sold.

“If the million dollars for the court had not been specific to that facility, we could still sell the million dollars and use it to add to [the current city hall],” she said. “But, it was written specifically for the facility on McKinney Street.”

For facility bond propositions, such as the proposed arts center, city staff will organize a plan for City Council to approve if the staff decides to move forward with the project, Lange said. Voters approving the propositions does not mean the city will end up selling the bonds, and each project still has to be approved by City Council before the bonds are sold, she said.

“We’re not just going to sell bonds, sit on the money and then decide,” Lange said. “We have to put a plan together and give it back to council.”

Lange said she asks residents to go out and vote on Saturday regardless of if they vote for or against the propositions.


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