By Fatema Biviji
NDG Special Contributor
The City of Irving held a Special City Council Meeting on August 13, 2020. In an unexpected turn of events, a motion was put forth to pass an ordinance cancelling the Special Bond Election that was originally to be held on May 2, 2020, and subsequently postponed to November 3, 2020. The Ordinance was passed by City Council in a 5-3 vote (one member abstained) resulting in the cancellation of the Special Bond Election that was to be held on November 3rd.
On February 13, 2020, City Council voted 8 -1 passing an ordinance calling this bond election to be held on May 2, 2020.
On March 3, 2020, the Governor declared a state of emergency in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. On March 31st, the City Council postponed both the Regular Municipal Election and the Special Bond Election to November 3, 2020, in accordance to the Governor’s proclamation.
The bond package, in its current version, consists of 12 proposals that voters can vote on individually. This is different from past bond elections in which voters could only vote “yes” or “no” on the entire bond package.
Bond proposals total over $560 million and include nearly $70 million in inflation costs. In the past, bond proposals have not included funds for inflation. The current proposals include:$207,800,000 for road improvements, $9,200,000 for the City Hall campus, $10,200,000 for general government facilities, $1,300,000 for Human Services offices and facilities, $29,930,000 for police facilities, $5,770,000 for the animal care campus, $34,300,000 for firefighting facilities, $78,300,000 for parks and recreation facilities, $10,700,000 for the City’s fiber optics and IT related needs, $20,200,000 for libraries, $3,000,000 for the Irving Arts Center, and $152,700,000 for joint fire and police public safety facilities.
The question now looms whether the bond proposals will get back on the ballot. According to citizen bond task force committee vice-chair, Sharon Barbosa Crain, “It will require a council action to call a bond election for May. We don’t know yet if the council will leave the propositions as they are or will change some of them.”