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Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by Matt Largey

2018 election results: Austin bonds and propositions

Austin voters gave the OK to seven bond propositions totaling more than $925 million this election, but things aren’t looking good for two propositions fueled by citizen petitions – Propositions J and K – that could fail.


Proposition A


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 73 percent of voters approved the bond measure to expand affordable housing in Austin; 26 percent voted it down.

Background: This is the first of seven propositions that make up a $925 million bond package the Austin City Council put together. Proposition A accounts for $250 million of the package. This item is all about affordable housing. If voters approve it, the city would borrow money for a range of things related to building and maintaining housing, specifically for lower-income residents.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

The issuance of $250,000,000 in tax-supported general obligation bonds and notes for planning, constructing, renovating, improving, and equipping affordable housing facilities for low income and moderate income persons and families, and acquiring land and interests in land and property necessary to do so, funding loans and grants for affordable housing, and funding affordable housing programs, as may be permitted by law; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.


Proposition B


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 74 percent of voters approved the bond measure. Nearly 26 percent voted it down.

Background: The second bond proposition is aimed at the city’s libraries, museums and cultural arts facilities. It totals $128 million.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

The issuance of $128,000,000 in tax-supported general obligation bonds and notes for planning, acquiring, constructing, renovating, improving, and equipping community and cultural facilities, libraries, museums, and cultural and creative arts facilities, and acquiring land and interests in land and property necessary to do so; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.


Proposition C


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 81 percent of voters approved the bond measure; nearly 19 percent voted it down.

Background: This bond asks voters to approve borrowing $149 million for parks and recreation projects.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

The issuance of $149,000,000 in tax-supported general obligation bonds and notes for planning, acquiring, constructing, renovating, improving and equipping public parks, recreation centers, natural areas, and other related facilities, including, without limitation, playgrounds, hike and bike trails, sports courts, and swimming pools, and acquiring land and interests in land and property necessary to do so; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.


Proposition D


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 84 percent of voters approved the bond measure, and 15 percent voted down the measure to expand flood mitigation in Austin.

Background: This bond measure would borrow $184 million for flood mitigation, open space and water quality protection.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

The issuance of $184,000,000 in tax supported general obligation bonds and notes for flood mitigation, open space and water quality and quantity for planning, designing, acquiring, constructing, and installing improvements and facilities for flood control, erosion control, water quality, water quantity, and storm-water drainage, and acquiring land, open spaces, and interests in land and property necessary to do so; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.


Proposition E


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 70 percent of voters approved the bond measure; 29 percent voted it down.

Background: This $16 million bond is for a neighborhood health services center in Dove Springs in Southeast Austin, a historically underserved part of the city.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

The issuance of $16,000,000 in tax-supported general obligations bonds and notes for planning, constructing, reconstructing, improving, and equipping a neighborhood public health and human services facility in the Dove Springs area; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.


Proposition F


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, nearly 81 percent of voters approved the bond measure, while 18 percent voted it down.

Background: This bond proposition deals with public safety. It includes $25 million for upgrades to the city’s Emergency Medical Services facilities. There’s also $13 million for fire station renovations.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

The issuance of $38,000,000 in tax supported general obligation bonds and notes for planning, renovating, improving, and equipping existing public safety facilities, specifically fire and emergency medical services stations, buildings, and other related facilities; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.


Proposition G


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, nearly 82 percent of voters approved the bond measure; just over 18 percent voted it down.

Background: This $160 million measure is a grab bag of transportation projects, including rebuilding streets, replacing the bridge over Lady Bird Lake on Red Bud Trail and rehabbing sidewalks.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

The issuance of $160,000,000 in tax supported general obligation bonds and notes for planning, constructing, reconstructing, and improving roads, streets, intersections, sidewalks, bridges, urban trails and related utility and drainage infrastructure for the roads and streets; improving traffic signal synchronization and control systems; acquiring and installing traffic signals; and acquiring land and interests in land and property necessary to do so; and the levy of a tax sufficient to pay for the bonds and notes.


Proposition H


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 67 percent of voters in Travis County approved the proposition, while nearly 33 percent voted it down.

Background: This one amends the city charter, the basic framework for how the city operates, to change how and for how long members of the city’s Planning Commission are appointed and how they get removed. Instead of serving two-year terms, members would serve up to two years. Right now, the charter lays out when members get appointed. If passed, the proposition would remove that stipulation and allow City Council to set the appointment schedule – as well as the process for removing commission members – by ordinance (meaning they wouldn’t need voter approval to set those rules).

Here’s the language on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to provide that the term of service and process for removal of the Planning Commission members be determined by ordinance?


Proposition I


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, nearly 74 percent of voters approved the bond proposition to tweak the grammar of Austin’s city charter; 26 percent voted it down.

Background: Basically, Proposition I is a spelling, grammar and punctuation check on the city charter. It’s all laid out here, if you want to go through the details, but most of the changes this proposition would bring to the charter involve removing unnecessary commas, changing capital letters to lowercase, spelling out numbers instead of using numerals and adding a few missing words here and there.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

Shall the City Charter be amended to make non-substantive corrections to grammar, typographical errors, capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure; and to change or remove charter language that is obsolete?


Proposition J


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 52 percent of early voters voted against the measure to require future votes for large-scale zoning decisions like the now-defunct CodeNEXT; over 47 percent of voters approved the measure.

Background: This is the proposition, created by a citizen-led petition drive, that would require a waiting period – and voter approval – before any rewrite of the city’s land development code can go into effect. This one grew out of the controversy over CodeNEXT, the effort to overhaul Austin’s land development code that was scrapped by City Council earlier this year.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

Shall a City ordinance be adopted to require both a waiting period and subsequent voter approval period, a total of up to three years, before future comprehensive revisions of the City’s land development code become effective?


Proposition K


Results: After early voting numbers and a third of election day votes counted, 58 percent of voters voted down a third-party audit for the city of Austin; nearly 41 percent approved it.

Background: This proposition is the result of another citizen-led petition. If approved, the measure would require the city to hire an outside firm to do an “efficiency study” of the city’s operations and finances. The city already has its own internal auditing office and uses outside auditors as well. This measure calls for a brand-new audit – done by someone the city does not currently work with.

Here’s the language on the ballot:

Without using the existing internal City Auditor or existing independent external auditor, shall the City Code be amended to require an efficiency study of the City’s operational and fiscal performance performed by a third-party audit consultant, at an estimated cost of $1 million – $5 million?

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Julia Reihs/KUT.

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