AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - City bond Proposition 2 is all about public safety, but the wording you'll see on the ballot is pretty vague:
PROPOSITION NUMBER 2
"SHALL the City Council of the City of Amarillo, Texas, be authorized to issue general obligation bonds of the City in the principal amount of $20,080,000 for permanent public improvements and public purposes, to wit: acquiring, constructing, improving, renovating, expanding and equipping public safety facilities; such bonds to mature serially or otherwise over a period not to exceed twenty-five (25) years from their date, to be issued and sold in one or more series at any price or prices and to bear interest at any rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise) as shall be determined within the discretion of the City Council at the time of issuance or sale of the bonds; and whether ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon all taxable property in the City sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity?"
So what all is considered "public safety"?
For the purpose of this proposition, public safety departments include the Amarillo Fire Department, Amarillo Police Department, Animal Management & Welfare, and the Office of Emergency Management.
Proposition 2 is a $20,080,000 bond that will add, upgrade and fix up facilities and operations for these 4 departments.
A breakdown of the 16 projects included in this proposition are listed below, with corresponding dollar amounts.
To see each project broken down into full detail, check out pages 31 - 44 of this document.
You'll see that the biggest chunk - $12,150,910 - is all going to the fire department.
Fire Chief Jeff Greenlee said their major projects involve totally rebuilding two fire stations, and moving a third.
"These have been needs for a number of years. None of these projects were created new for this bond, they were all already in talks, in the works as needs for the fire department."
Fire Station 3 would be moved from Bell and Estacado to Coulter and Oxford "to efficiently utilize resources and continue to provide timely service to the city as it expands West of Loop 335."
Fire Stations 5 and 9 are both about 60 years old, and would each be completely reconstructed.
"These are not ADA compliant, they're not coed friendly," said Greenlee. "The truck bays are not - trucks have done nothing but get bigger since the 1950s so we've just got to try to keep up."
Many of the city's emergency sirens are also around 60 years old and in need of some upgrades, according to Kevin Starbuck, Emergency Management Coordinator for Amarillo.
"We have about a third of our sirens in the system at this point that do not have battery backup. While we do have sirens strategically placed throughout the system that do have that capability, if we were to lose power in an area of town we could potentially lose the ability to sound those sirens in that area of town."
If passed, the siren system expansion project would replace 3 sirens and add 1 new siren each year.
Starbuck and Greenlee both said there are no current funding sources for their departments' projects.
If the proposition passes, all 16 projects will be completed.
Amarillo residents would see a property tax increase of anywhere from 2¢ to 4¢ per year for the next 5 years.
The total increase amount depends on how many of the 7 propositions are approved.
If it fails, there will be no property tax increase, and these departments will have to look for outside sources of funding.
"It definitely will slow our progress to do upgrades and do the expansions that we have planned at this point," said Starbuck.