$ 1.2 billion bond issue to San Antonio voters in May



Work began on a record $ 1.2 billion San Antonio bond issue on Wednesday, which will include upgrades to streets, drainage and facilities as well as affordable housing.

City Manager Erik Walsh said the discussion at a council working session was “the first of a very long and important process” leading up to the May Bond election. The board will appoint bond issuance committees on October 13, and panels will begin meeting at the end of October.

The city regularly presents a bond issue to voters every five years to maintain and improve its infrastructure, including streets, parks and 1,165 buildings in the city.

If all six bond issuance proposals are approved in 2022, said Walsh, “our commitment to voters is that by the time they return to the polls for the 2027 bond program, we will be at 97% of the projects. built or under construction. “

“This is our opportunity right now as we begin this process to improve our infrastructure, maintain our infrastructure, which is just as critical, and add assets for the amenities of a growing community over the next five years. “, did he declare.

The board is expected to approve a bond plan in January, then call an election in mid-February. But with around $ 6.6 billion in identified needs for streets, sidewalks, drainage, and parks – including $ 2.8 billion in community funding requests – officials will need to narrow the list first. projects. The proposed projects will be scored on four key criteria: connectivity, public health and safety, resilience and equity.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the city’s practice of holding bond elections every five years to meet targeted priorities has been crucial in “catching up” on deferred maintenance and unmet needs since around 2007.

“We need to continue to invest in our core infrastructure, as well as our facilities,” Nirenberg said.

Council members disagreed on the amount set aside, 1 percent, for public art in capital projects. Austin and Fort Worth both spend 2% on public art. Council members Mario Bravo and Manny Peláez supported the 2% expansion as a way to promote the arts and tourism, but city councilor John Courage argued that it is money that would be better spent to help residents in need.

“All of these other cities are richer than the city of San Antonio,” Courage said.

The range of proposed projects also includes $ 200 million for 45.4 miles of trails to be added to the local greenway network; upgrades at regional economic centers such as Brooks, Port San Antonio, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and South Texas Medical Center; and upgrades to facilities such as the San Antonio Zoo, San Antonio Botanical Garden, and the Sunken Garden Theater that draw visitors from across the city.

Walsh said he recommended six proposals:

Streets and sidewalks.


Parks and open spaces.

Municipal facilities.

Public security facilities.


A city charter change approved by voters four months ago allowed the use of housing bond issues. City staff are recommending a $ 250 million housing proposal.

Deputy city manager Lori Houston said the city needs to produce or preserve some 28,000 affordable housing units, focusing on helping the 95,000 San Antonio households who are “overburdened with costs” – spending more than 30% of their income for housing expenses.

Several council members supported the housing proposal. But City Councilor Clayton Perry said the city should have less money for housing and more for structurally “failing streets” – classified as “F streets.” Council members Bravo, Teri Castillo and Ana Sandoval also questioned whether the bond proposal would include enough for streets and drainage.

The city’s record-breaking bond issue, approved by voters in 2017, is $ 850 million.

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