Battle of the bonds: Multiple Pima County initiatives could split vote in November

Green Valley Council President Don Weaver said a parks improvement bond may derail a county road bond project, because they will both appear on November’s ballot.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors decided July 3 to place a $430 million road bond, by a vote of 4 to 1, in front of voters come November.

Two weeks prior, Tucson City Council moved to ask voters, 6-1, to pass a $225 million bond that will improve city parks and road connectivity projects like bicycle boulevards.

It will cost at least $1 billion to bring county roads up to speed, according to county estimates.

The GVC Executive Committee will discuss whether or not to endorse the county’s bond initiative on Wednesday, Weaver said. But they won’t rush propping up this project.

“The key here is, this is the only option for Pima County,” he said. “But I don’t want to force it.”

Weaver said he’s sure that Tucson roads need to be fixed just like other local throughways. However, he’s concerned that voters will balk at giving a green light to two bond packages in one election.

Communicating an accurate message about the county road bond is essential, he said. Not only will taxes not increase, but the county has done an exemplary job managing general obligation bonds in the past, he added.

If the county road bond passes, the current secondary property tax rate of 69 cents per $100 of assessed value will remain intact until the additional general obligation debit is paid. Currently, Pima County has more than $275 million in bond debt, which at its current rate of repayment will be repaid in about 11 years.

According to county estimates, if the secondary property tax holds at its current rate, the county will be able to repay its current debt as well as the additional $430 million by the end of FY 2030.

Read the entire Green Valley News and Sun article here. Originally published July 11, 2018.

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