WF councilors agree on future bond proposal

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - For the last 48 hours Wichita Falls city councilors have been rating projects, crunching numbers, and coming up with a bond proposal they believe addresses city needs and is attractive to citizens.

"You're getting a lot for your money," Councilor At-Large, Bobby Whiteley said. "You're not just going to be shelling money out. You're getting a product for your tax dollars."

"We wanted to go ahead and tackle this head-on and not look at it from the perspective that I'm going to be taxing the citizens more, but I'm going to allow the citizens to decide what they feel is important for the city of Wichita Falls," Mayor, Stephen Santellana said.

Here is a look at the six propositions:

Proposition 1 (Park Improvements) 
- Circle trail matching amount for TAP grants
-.9 mile trail spur (Aqueduct Trail )
- Turf 4 of the 8 fields at the softball complex
-3.6-mile trail spur from Ohio Street Bridge at Wichita River to north to SAFB
- Lake Wichita parking lot resurface
$7.3 million

Proposition 2 (Lake Wichita Shoreline Improvements)
- Veteran's Memorial Plaza
- Boardwalk matching requirement for TPW grant
- Circle trail from Marina to Barnett Road on shore
$3.9 million

Proposition 3 (Street Improvements)
- Maintain currents roads
- Widen and improve drainage of Taft from FM 369 to FM 2380
- Maplewood Avenue extension to McNiel
$17.3 million

Proposition 4 (City Hall/Public Safety Campus)
- Municipal complex that includes city hall, the police department, and main fire station
$77 million

Proposition 5 (MPEC Improvements)
- Rigging, curtains, lighting, sound system at Memorial Auditorium
- LED lighting at Kay Yeager Coliseum
- Restroom renovations and air wall replacement at the Ray Climber Exhibit Hall
- Roof replacement at the J.S. Bridwell Agricultural Center
- Ticket scanners at Kay Yeager Coliseum
- Video surveillance at all Exhibit Hall, Ag. Center, and Coliseum
- Portable seating upgrades at the Coliseum
- Camera upgrades at the Coliseum
- Portable sound system for Exhibit Hall
- Panels, chutes, announcer stands at Ag. Center
$3.625 million

Proposition 6 (Downtown Streetscape & Misc.)
- 9 intersections and 17 blocks of sidewalks, landscaping, decorative street lighting, etc.
- Acquisition/demolition/parking improvements
- Park central expansion/development 
- Splash Pad
$21.9 million

TOTAL: $131 million (16 cent property tax increase, equivalent to $180 a year for a $100,000 home.)

"They are all good issues," Councilor Whiteley said. "They really are. We've paired them down to what we think the citizens want and absolutely what some of the needs are."

Now councilors have between February 5th to February 16th to vote on a bond issue for the May ballot.

"Just don't look at the sticker," Mayor Santellana said. "A lot of times people see x amount of millions of dollars and think wow my taxes are going to double. They're really not."

"I'm upbeat about it," Councilor Whiteley added. "I'm excited about it because obviously, the citizens get to vote on this. So we're going to do what they want to do, which is what city government needs to do."

Councilor Whiteley and Mayor Santellana both said the $77 million city complex is on the potential bond because it is the most pressing issue.

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