By Paulina Pineda for The Arizona Republic
Tempe likely will ask voters to approve a $349M bond issue to pay for dozens of capital projects in the next five years, ranging from road improvements to park upgrades.
The city weighed asking voters for about half the proposed bond amount — $174M— to help pay for projects planned in the first three years of the five-year program after council members previously expressed concerns that asking voters to approve a bond during an economic downturn could be a tough sell.
That would have required the city to ask voters for additional funding in two years.
Ultimately, the council felt confident voters would approve the full amount.
The requests will be broken into five questions:
- Water and sewer improvements: $134M.
- Street and storm drain improvements: $74M.
- Public safety: $34M.
- Park and Community Services improvements: $45M.
- Municipal infrastructure preservation: $62M.
The funds will be used to improve existing infrastructure, upgrade park amenities, maintain and rehabilitate the city’s buildings, acquire or build new facilities and improve technology across departments.
Bond-financed projects planned in the five-year program total $525.1M. The city has about $178M remaining from previous bonds.
Some of the planned projects include about $8M in storm drain improvements throughout the city, a new fire station to the tune of $9.6M and 32 park projects, including $3.2M in park infrastructure and equipment replacements.
Worried About the Economy
The city has adjusted its capital and operating budget as business closures and a decrease in sales tax revenue take a toll on city coffers.
Prior to the pandemic, Tempe was getting ready to propose its largest budget for projects ever, at about $800M.
Staff has since proposed scaling back capital projects that the city was proposing to pay for with cash, as well as projects with large operating costs.
Read more at The Arizona Republic.