The first of 25 Community Bond Committee Meetings will take place on Monday at the Central Library Auditorium, located at 600 Soledad St. The public meetings will have translation services available for Spanish-speakers who wish to participate in formulating a final project list for the $850 million 2017 Municipal bond.
Five committees will discuss capital projects related to Streets, Bridges & Sidewalks, Drainage & Flood Control, Parks, Recreation & Open Space, Facility Improvements, and Neighborhood Improvements. The latter includes a first-of-its-kind housing bond. This process will be the main opportunity for citizens and organizations to voice their support for or concern over the staff-proposed list presented to City Council last week.
Most of the two-hour meetings start at 6 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, while some take place on Thursday through Dec. 15. The meeting on Oct. 4 will run from 4-6 p.m.
City Council will review the list in January 2017, when Council members can make final adjustments before it is approved and goes to voters on the May 2017 ballot.
About 70%, or $594 million, of the $850 million bond will be spent on basic infrastructure needs like streets, bridges, drainage, and sidewalks across the city. This priority was also expressed in the City’s fiscal year 2017 budget, but the bond “really is the opportunity to make the major investments,” said Jeff Coyle, director of the City’s Government and Public Affairs Department.
“As usual, we have way more needs than we can address,” Coyle said, “but we’re knocking a lot of the big priorities off the list.”
Some of the projects didn’t quite make it onto the 2012 bond, which is slated to be completed on budget by 2017.
The Parks, Recreation & Open Space and Facilities Improvements committees will have $116 million and $120 million to work with, respectively. The Neighborhood Improvements committee, new this year, will decide the fate of $20 million for affordable housing projects across the city.
The list that was presented to City Council last week will likely be close to what is approved in May, Coyle said. “Historically, they’ve (committees and Council have) not made major changes. Usually the list that we bring to committees has already been vetted by the community … they might make minor tweaks and adjustments.”
The City has been implementing translation services at public input, commission, and Council meetings for some time, but this will be the first time the bond process will have the benefit.
“Language shouldn’t be a barrier to participation,” he said.
Top image: The 2017 bond tri-chair appointees greet each other during a press conference in July 2016: (from left) Linebarger Blair & Sampson Chief of Operations Carri Baker, Senior Vice President of IBC Bank Eddie Aldrete, and Co-Chair of SA Tomorrow Darryl Byrd. Photo by Scott Ball.