After much discussion, Friendswood’s leaders opted to implement the city’s bond programs with a 7-year timeline.
While the bonds for projects such as expanding the library, adding parks and road improvements were approved by voters in November, the city council ultimately decides when those bonds are issued, a careful balance of fulfilling promises to voters while not taking on too much debt for the city.
Council members Steve Rockey, Billy Enochs and Carl Gustafson voted against Monday’s proposal for the bond issuance, which passed 4-3.
The plan to be put into place is the middle ground of three possible options presented by staff. A 5-year, 7-year and 10-year implementation had been discussed at a previous workshop. In all, critical streets, park land, a new fire station and a city library renovation were set to be tackled first. The approved 7-year plan funds projects in three rounds, the first taking on the new fire station design, library expansion and Centennial Park improvements. The council chose to issue bonds for 15-year periods.
Councilman Steve Rockey has stated that once bonds were approved by voters, they are likely to expect action – but the proposed 5-year plan seemed too speedy. “If you go with 5 years and then find you are not capable of doing it — well it’s easier to slow down. It’s much more difficult to speed up,” he told the council.
The 5-year plan would have also meant the tax rate will jump faster than what was presented to voters.
The four bond proposals approved in November included roughly $6.5 million for public safety, $7.3 million in parks projects, $2.5 million in library renovations and approximately $7.7 in street improvements.