Bond Committees approve project recommendations for City Council consideration
For immediate release contact: Roland Martinez
December 09, 2011
The Community Bond Committees for the City of San Antonio’s proposed 2012- 2017 Bond Program each held their fifth and final public meetings this week, culminating with the community groups approving project recommendations for City Council’s consideration in January.
The proposed $596 million Bond Program is allocated in four categories: Streets/Bridges/Sidewalks, Drainage, Parks, and Facilities/Community Initiatives. The election is planned for May 2012.
Four Bond Committees, based on the proposed categories, approved 135 projects. While the committees did make some changes to City staff-recommended projects, the Streets/Bridges/Sidewalks and Drainage committees unanimously approved the recommended projects. The Parks Committee voted 27-1 in favor of the recommended projects, and the Facilities/Community Initiatives Committee voted 20-10.
In the category of Streets/Bridges/Sidewalks, the approved recommendations total $340 million, including the completion of the U.S. 281 / Loop 1604 interchange ($30 million) and Hausman Road from Loop 1604 to Interstate 10 ($30 million). Both of these areas are highly congested with vehicular traffic.
The Streets Citizens Committee also recommended $40 million in Downtown Street Reconstruction. This recommendation does not include funding for streetcars.
The Mayor and City Council appointed 128 community members to serve on four Bond Committees. The Mayor appointed Lila Cockrell, Tessa Martinez Pollack and Carri Baker Wells as tri-chairs for the proposed 2012-2017 Bond Program.
The Committee format consisted of co-chairs for each committee appointed by the Mayor and 30 members per committee with each City Council Member appointing three of the members for each committee. In all, the committees had 20 public meetings between October and December, including a bus tour for each committee on Saturday, December 3.
Several hundred residents attended the public meetings and committee members heard dozens of public comments in “citizens to be heard.”
“It was fun and interesting to participate in and watch the democratic process in action,” said Jackie Gorman, who served on the Facilities/Community Initiatives Committee. “This process helps us understand the scope of needs we have across the City. It was eye-opening for me.”
Luis Marotta, a member of the Streets/Bridges/Sidewalks Committee, said serving on the committee for two months was a learning experience.
“This was very beneficial,” he said. “I learned a lot about the issues in my district. Our committee was able to make some changes to what staff recommended and put the money to good use.”
Walter Ague, who has served on the Citizens Bond Oversight Commission through two bond elections, said he was familiar with all the projects being discussed by the Drainage Committee.
“The process was very well done,” Ague said. “The briefings were very complete and left us no questions. Our meetings were non-contentious and we had a unanimous decision about the recommended projects.”
Paul Jimenez said he was honored to serve on the Parks Committee. “As a committee, we came together and had great, yet sometimes difficult discussions and decisions to make based on the fact that the needs far outweighed our available resources,” Jimenez said. “In the end, a strong slate of projects will be sent to City Council for consideration.”
The committees will present their project recommendations to City Council in a “B” session in January. City Council will discuss the recommendations before approving the final project list and calling for the election in February.
Election Day would be May 12, 2012. For more information, visit the 2012 Bond web site – www.sanantonio.gov/2012Bond.