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Collin commissioners call $328.9 million bond election; Self votes 'no' on all proposals
By Brandi Hart, McKinney? Courier-Gazette
Tuesday, August 14, 2007 1:59 PM CDT
Collin County commissioners on Tuesday called a three-proposition, $328.9 million bond election for Nov. 6 that comprises $235.6 million for transportation, $17 million in open space projects, and $76.3 million in county facilities.
County Judge Keith Self voted against all of the bond proposals, which were compiled by committees of county residents. Self voted against the transportation proposal because he wanted to see the money used for state and federal highways, rather than spread out among city and county road projects, he said.
"By us approving the transportation bond proposal, we leave $160 million on the table for pass-through financing that we have no construction money for", Self said at Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting.
Self's comments did not sit well with the commissioners, and caused Commissioner Jerry Hoagland to ask Self not to campaign against the package. Hoagland disagreed with Self's idea that the "backbone" of the transportation funds should be used to support state and federal highways, and called it highly inappropriate.
"These major arterials do not begin and end in Collin County, and forcing us to take on the responsibility of these roads is inappropriate because it's too much for the cities to take on", Hoagland said. "When we appointed the committee members, they had a direction and then you got elected and had a different idea on what they should be focusing on. I think it would be highly inappropriate that we not support their recommendations. I want to publicly ask you to not go out and get this bond election defeated", Hoagland said.
Hoagland said he has been a commissioner since 1983 and this is the way the county has always conducted bond elections.
Self told the commissioners three times that nine cities in the county do not have transportation projects in the bond proposal.
Commissioner Joe Jaynes said those nine cities choose not to be included. All cities in Collin County were asked to submit road and transportation projects to the county. Each city included in the transportation bond proposal must pay for half the cost of the road project, with the county contributing the other half, if voters approve the bond. The cities choosing not to be included in the bond are Blue Ridge, Weston, Nevada, Lavon, Josephine, New Hope, Lowry Crossing, Saint Paul, and Royse City, which lies in Collin County, Hunt County and Rockwall County.
"If we don't partner with the cities, then they will have to take it on themselves to fix the roads. I don't want to do to the cities what I think the state is doing to us", Jaynes said.
Commissioner Phyllis Cole said she respectfully disagreed with Self's opinion about the transportation proposal, as the county has a close working relationship with the cities.
Commissioner Jack Hatchell said commissioners are essential to helping cities fund transportation projects. Hatchell also said he appreciated the committee members' work on the proposals.
Self said he heard what the commissioners were saying, but the pass through financing is vitally important for the county to get reimbursement for monies paid for the expansion of federal and state highways.
A proposal to build a juvenile justice facility was tabled for two years.
The open space bond money would be used to for various open space and park projects, such as improvements to the Collin County Adventure Camp in Westminster that is affiliated with the YMCA and Myers Park.
Self also voted against the open space and park bond proposal and the facility bond proposal because he said it did not make sense to vote against the more expensive transportation bond proposal and support the other proposals as they are all part of the same bond.
Voters will be able to vote on each proposition separately on the ballot this fall.
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