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By Brandi Hart, McKinney Courier-Gazette
Wednesday, August 29, 2007 2:04 AM CDT
The Nov. 6 proposed bond election amount remained unchanged Tuesday as county commissioners took no action on County Judge Keith Self’s proposal to change it from $328.9 million to $271 million.
Self proposed setting a maximum of $271 million for all bond projects and having a moratorium on bond elections for the next nine years. He asked the court to develop criteria to accelerate major highway environmental studies, engineering, design, approval and construction. Self suggested making the congestion of major highways the primary criteria for county funding, with 70 percent devoted to current highway congestion and 30 percent to future congestion.
Commissioner Jerry Hoagland said he did not think it was the county’s responsibility to fund major highways.
“I don’t think the voters would vote for it because they want to see something in their back yards, so to speak. I think we need to hold our local politicians’ feet to the fire,” Hoagland said.
Hoagland also asked Self which nine cities he stated in the last court meeting are not included in the transportation proposal for the Nov. 6 bond. Self said Weston, Blue Ridge, Josephine, Nevada, New Hope, Lowry Crossing, St. Paul, and Royse City, which is partially in Collin County, Hunt County and Rockwall County, are not included. The county asked all cities in the county to submit transportation proposals to be reviewed by the transportation bond committee, and did not receive requests from those cities, according to County Engineer Ruben Delgado.
Commissioner Joe Jaynes agreed with Hoagland. He thought voters would not support a bond election that would fund improvements for highways but not major roadways in their cities. If the county diverted funding for the cities’ street projects, that would increase the cities’ tax rates, Jaynes said. “I think we’re putting the cities in a position to where they have to raise the tax rate. I just don’t see where you’re going to get people to vote for that. The voters will want to see us complete some projects. I just see it as a tax increase for our cities and nothing getting done at first.”
Self also said he included Westminster, but the community is no longer an incorporated city.
Self said he respectfully disagreed with Hoagland as he feels funding state and federal highways is the county’s responsibility.
The commissioners discussed the policy and took no action on it.
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