Council could put bond package before voters in fall

Gilbert voters could be asked to allow the town to sell bonds that would transportation and infrastructure projects in the coming years. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gilbert voters could be asked to allow the town to sell bonds that would transportation and infrastructure projects in the coming years. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Gilbert voters could be asked to allow the town to sell bonds that would transportation and infrastructure projects in the coming years. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Gilbert voters could be asked in November to approve a $465 million transportation and infrastructure bond package that would pay for 40 projects in the coming years.

The bonds were headed toward voters for consideration last November. However, Gilbert Town Council accepted the recommendation of staff and the Gilbert Citizens Transportation Task Force to delay putting it on a ballot for at least a year.

That recommendation, presented to council at a financial retreat in April 2020, was made in light of economic uncertainty as the pandemic took hold in the country.

That delay would have minimal effects, staffers noted, because any bonds passed in 2020 would not have been issued until 2022. But at the same time, staffers said they had no “Plan B” in case of further delay.

Council will be discussing moving the bond forward for consideration in the November general election at February’s council retreat, town spokesperson Jennifer Harrison said.


Gilbert Vice Mayor Yung Koprowski, a civil engineer who specializes in traffic engineering, was vice chair of the task force when council accepted the recommendation to delay the bond question. Five days later, she was appointed to fill a vacancy on council.

Koprowski said the bonds are critical to meet the long-term needs of the community, though she supported the delay last year.

"But we are in a time crunch in terms of—the bond really needs to be passed this year so that projects can continue to move forward in a timely fashion,” she said.

Koprowski said the list of projects that will be funded through the bonds has not been finalized but will be brought to council at its February retreat. She also noted that since the delay, additional studies have been completed or are underway that will help further define the long-term needs of the community, including on the transportation master plan and parking in the Heritage District.

Koprowski said she does not expect the project list or budget to change much but rather to be better defined as a result of the additional studies.

When the task force was considering its recommendation to council in April, Town Manager Patrick Banger said the town would be in “a world of hurt” if the bond did not pass in 2021. Without the bond, he said, the town would have to look for grants or put in a dedicated transportation sales tax.

Public Works Director Jessica Marlow told the task force that other cities have such a sales tax but noted it would take a decade to collect the funds needed to move forward with the projects, which would put a halt to the projects in the meantime.

The result, Banger said, would be Gilbert’s transportation issues would continue to worsen and the level of service would decline.

“We do need everyone’s support for the transportation and infrastructure bond so that we can really make all of the projects a reality for the next 10 years,” Koprowski said.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


MOST RECENT

Gilbert real estate data
Available homes on Gilbert market down sharply in February

Here is what you need to know about Gilbert's residential real estate market from February 2021.

Salt Tacos y Tequila, SanTan Village
Salt Tacos y Tequila to open at SanTan Village in 2021

The restaurant’s first location is in the Westgate Entertainment District in Glendale.

Co-owners Jalon and Carolina Buckstead each have prior experience in restaurants. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gilbert's Rocky Point Seafood focuses on authenticity; Chandler USD selects interim leader and more top area news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from the Gilbert and Chandler areas.

Lindsay Road
Lindsay Road restrictions at Loop 202-Santan Freeway will last into 2022

Traffic on Lindsay Road will continue to be one lane each direction for the duration of the Lindsay Road traffic interchange project at the Loop 202-Santan Freeway.

The state-run vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which has administered nearly 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, will relocate April 12 to Desert Financial Arena on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus. (Courtesy Arizona Department of Health Services)
Phoenix Municipal Stadium vaccination site to move indoors to ASU's Desert Financial Arena

The state-run vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, which has administered nearly 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, will relocate April 12 to Desert Financial Arena on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus,

Maricopa County residents have received over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to an April 7 update from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Nearly 40% of all Maricopa County adults have received at least one dose of vaccine

Maricopa County residents have received over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to an April 7 update from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health.

Jeff Gadd
Higley USD reviews $95 million bond proposal for fall

The Higley USD governing board reviewed at its April 7 meeting a district proposal to run a $95 million capital bond before voters in the fall.

The Chandler USD governing board announced April 7 Frank Narducci would succeed Camille Casteel as the district's superintendent beginning this summer. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Chandler USD governing board selects interim superintendent

The Chandler USD governing board announced April 7 Frank Narducci would succeed Camille Casteel as the district's superintendent beginning this summer.

Vaccine
Maricopa County residents have received more than 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

Those doses have gone into the arms of 1.3 million residents representing nearly 40% of county residents over the age of 15, the county said.

After providing more than 54,000 vaccinations for K-12 educators, school staff and child care workers in a span of 10 weeks, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health concluded its targeted points-of-dispensing vaccination program for child care workers and educators April 6. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
More than 25,000 education workers have been fully vaccinated in Maricopa County

After providing more than 54,000 vaccinations for K-12 educators, school staff and child care workers in a span of 10 weeks, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health concluded its targeted points-of-dispensing vaccination program for child care workers and educators April 6.

Gilbert Municipal Building I
Gilbert citizen thanks council for movement along Western Canal

Gilbert Town Council members received praise April 6 from one of the landowners along the Western Canal who have faced losing portions of their backyard in an eminent domain action.

income taxes
Arizona pushes state tax deadline to May 17

The state of Arizona is moving the deadline for filing and paying 2020 state individual income taxes from April 15 to May 17, 2021.