Aquatic center, soccer field, MFISD bond fall to defeat
November 05, 2013, 8:30 pm by Emily Zendt
Marble Falls voters in the first-ever bond election soundly defeated propositions for a new family aquatics center and a new adult soccer field and improvements to the existing greens failed, while all six of the city charter amendments passed.
The Marble Falls ISD bond election for technology upgrades with no tax increase also fell short in the polls.
A new family aquatic center for
Unofficial voting totals for the city’s bond proposition for a new adult soccer field and improvements to the Greens Youth Soccer Complex showed that also going to defeat with 35.19 percent, or 177 votes of 503 in favor of the proposal while 64.81 percent —326 — voted against the measure. Marble Falls Mayor said he wasn't surprised the propositions failed.
"There was an increase in property taxes associated with both of them and we’re at a time right now where people do not want to see increases in taxes… We as a council could not figure out a way to [execute the two projects] and not raise taxes. If people really wanted them, it was up to the citizens to make that decision and not the council,” he said.
"We certainly won’t see anything on [the two projects] for a year or so - that decision will have to be made at budget time.”
"Apparently there are 1,000 voters who opposed it but I heard very little opposition during the process,” Superintendent Rob O’Connor said of the failed measure.
"If I had to make an assumption, I would say that we had a lot of confusing propositions on the ballot and a lot of uninformed voters… our reasons for issuing the bond still have a lot of merit. We will bring [a bond] back to the school board in May for consideration.”
The City of Marble Falls asked voters to approve a new aquatic center and athletic fields by the city with a combined price tag of $3,125,000 along with six amendments to the city charter.
Of the six proposed charter amendments 58.98 percent — 289 —voted in favor of changing the organization of the city council to a place system, under which candidates would run for one of six seats on the council while 41.02 percent — 201—opposed it.
Currently candidates do not have to run for a particular seat on the council, and those receiving the most votes are elected.
The second proposition to change the manner city council is compensated was favored by 70.24 percent of voters, 347 of 494, while 29.76 percent, 147 voters, did not support the proposal.
Council is currently compensated $15 a month for serving on the board, an amount that has not changed since establishing the charter in 1956. The amendment proposes that council's compensation be revised every two years, during the budget process.
The third amendment to determine whether city council should be allowed to cancel one of their two regular monthly meetings was supported by 66.54 percent or 181 of 272 of voters and opposed by 33.46 percent, 91 votes.
The fourth amendment to amend the language in the charter regarding the qualifications for municipal judge was supported by 71.32 percent, 189 of 265 voters, and opposed by 28.68 percent or 76 voters.
The fifth amendment asking voters to change the time period requirement outlined in the charter for canvassing election votes was supported by 83.21 percent or 223 of 268 of voters and opposed by 16.79 percent or 45 voters.
The final proposition to amend the charter to specify the franchises to public utilities may be granted by ordinance as well as contract was supported by 55.85 percent, 148 of 265 voters and opposed by 44.15 percent or 117 voters.
The city charter can only be amended every two years.
The city’s first ballot question proposed a pool with lap lanes, diving board, splash pad and water slides and a building that includes entrance bathhouses restrooms, a group activity room and offices with a $2,125,000 price tag.
The existing facility at
The aquatics center would increase property taxes by $.0275 for a property valued at $100,000 and $27.48 annually, or about $2.29 a month.
The second proposition, for $1 million by the city for a new adult soccer field including lighting, fencing, fields and parking and improvements to the Greens Youth Soccer Complex including lighting fencing, a restroom, parking, a concession stand and playground would raise property taxes by an estimated $.0129 and $12.93 annually or $1.08 a month.
Both the items equate to about a $0.0404 property tax increase and a $40.41 increase annually or $3.37 a month.
Those who have qualified for a tax freeze would not experience an increase.
The bond election would update district technology as well as provide equipment and facilities improvements for our Career and Technical Programs at the high school.
Funds authorized through a bond election allow MFISD to use tax revenue that is not subject to re-capture by the state under "Chapter 41" (Robin Hood) payments for some expenses that might normally be used on the operating side of the budget.
The MFISD bond election would not increase taxes.
The current MFISD tax rate is $1.0533 on the operations side of the budget (maintenance and operation) and.2267 cents on the bond payment side of the budget (interest and sinking) for a total of $1.28.
To pay for the new bonds, the district will refinance existing bonds to build capacity to pay for the new bonds without increasing the tax rate and is also contributing $2 million of the existing fund balance.
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