Note: This article is part of the Fall 2017 Springdale Newsletter. To check out the full newsletter, please click here.
Spotlight: 2018 Bond Authorization Special Election
The Springdale City Council will vote in November whether to hold a special election in early 2018. If approved by City Council, in this special election you will be asked if you support a bond authorization that will allow us to make infrastructure, public safety, and efficiency improvements without a tax increase.
Bonds are a great way for financially strong cities such as Springdale to get the money needed for important improvements by using existing tax revenue instead of increasing taxes.
What are bonds?
Bonds encourage investment in the City. The City hires bond analysts who determine the value of the bonds that we can sell within a safe margin. If approved by Springdale voters, we will issue bonds valued up to a certain amount, as approved by voters, and those bonds will be purchased by investors. The analysts will monitor the market and conduct the sale of the bonds.
The investors who purchase the bonds earn tax-free interest on their investment. Each year, we pay the principal and the interest on the bond debt, and that interest goes to the investors.
When we retire the bonds, we pay the investors back the face value of the bond.
Recent Bond Authorization
Most of you voted in support of the 2012 bond authorization, and thanks to your support, we were able to:
What will be on the ballot in 2018?
- Build the Don Tyson Parkway Interchange on I-49
- Extend Don Tyson Parkway from Hylton to Habberton Road
- Widen Don Tyson Parkway from S. 40th Street to Carley Road
- Extend 56th Street (now named Gene George Boulevard) from Dearing Road/Don Tyson Parkway to Bleaux Avenue
- Build the C. L. “Charlie” & Willie George Park in southeast Springdale
- Purchase 120 acres of land for a northwest park
- Renovate Murphy Park and buy equipment for J. B. Hunt, Tyson, Murphy, and C. L. “Charlie” & Willie George parks.
- Replace and relocate Fire Stations Two and Three to improve functionality and response time, and purchase necessary equipment for the Fire Department, such as extrication equipment and self-contained breathing apparatuses.
There will be multiple ballot measures related to the bond authorization, and you will have to vote on each ballot measure separately. The City Council will determine which items will be on the ballot. Here is an idea of the issues you will be able to vote on, if approved by the City Council (in no particular order):
- Refunding the outstanding balance of 2013 bonds - This is the most important ballot question, because it determines if we can pay back the investors the cost of the 2013 bonds, which refinanced the 2006 bonds. In order to issue new bonds, we have to refund the outstanding balance of the previous bonds. Therefore, if this issue fails, we will not be able to move forward with any other ballot measure, even if voters support them.
- Infrastructure Improvements - The largest percentage of the money received through the bond authorization will go toward infrastructure improvements. Widening, extending, and building roads will reduce traffic congestion, increase property values, and encourage further commercial and residential development. We are currently working with City staff and the City Council to prioritize infrastructure improvement projects. We will have public meetings in the future to encourage feedback from residents to help us prioritize projects.
- Parks - We hope to build a beautiful 120-acre park in northwest Springdale called the Shaw Family Park. There are also improvements needed for some of the older parks in Springdale. Springdale parks are a heavily used and valuable asset in Springdale. Regardless of where you live in Springdale, we want you to have access to a park for you and your family to enjoy.
- Fire Stations - To improve response time for fire and ambulance services in a growing city, we need to build additional fire stations. This will include building a fire station in west Springdale, near the northwest park.
- Animal Shelter - The bigger our population gets, the more animals we see at the shelter. Our current shelter has poor ventilation, which can make the animals sick, and there is not adequate space inside or outside of the facility. In order to take proper care of the animals and to encourage adoption, we need a better, more hospitable animal shelter.
- Criminal Justice and Civic Complex - With this bond authorization, we are planning to build a new Criminal Justice Building and renovate the current City Administration Building to develop a Criminal Justice and Civic Complex in Downtown Springdale. The two buildings will be connected, and the Criminal Justice Building will house the Police Department, Information Systems, Criminal Investigation Division, City Attorney’s Office, and District Court. The Criminal Justice Building will not have a jail. The Administration Building will house current departments plus Community Engagement and the Building Department.
These changes will increase efficiency among City departments, and offer a significantly better experience for our residents. There will be more space for our growing population to have and attend meetings and access services. It will be more secure, and it will improve the look of the downtown municipal campus as part of our downtown revitalization.
Thanks to a $3.3 million Design Excellence grant from the Walton Family Foundation, the design of the proposed Criminal Justice and Civic Complex is paid for. The City hired Duvall Decker Architects to design the complex.
The City Council will vote later this year to determine when the election will be held and which items will be on the ballot. Follow us on social media
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If approved by Springdale voters, the 2018 bond authorization will have a large and lasting positive impact on our city. It will encourage development, improve property values, and increase the quality of life for all of our residents. We hope you’ll support these ballot initiatives in early 2018.