The City Council decided to up the proposed bond from $120 million to $135 million at the work session on Tuesday, May 25.
How that $135 million will be divided up is a matter of contention, but there was a clear consensus to raise the total amount from the previously discussed $120 million to $135 million.
Interim Financial and Administrative Services Director Marlene Druga explained that raising the total by $15 million would not require property taxes to be raised more than the current estimate of 3 cents in 2023, but that it would require the city to devote more of the property tax revenue to paying off the bonds longer than if the total was kept at $120 million.
The suggestion of city staff was that the additional $15 million borrowed be used for transportation. At a previous meeting on the bonds, Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, who is chairman of the Greensboro Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization that deals with transportation issues, noted that without additional bond money the city might not be able to match federal funds for transportation projects. Most transportation projects are paid for primarily with 80 percent federal funds, but the city is required to pay a 20 percent match.
The city staff suggestion was to keep the same totals already discussed, which are $20 million for public safety, $30 million for affordable housing and $70 million for Community Services and Parks and Recreation.
However, City Councilmember Sharon Hightower suggested that the Community and Parks and Recreation Bond be increased to $80 million. She said that the cost of building the Windsor-Chavis-Nacho Park joint facility was at almost $64 million.
Hightower suggested taking $5 million from the housing bond, reducing it to $25 million, and $5 million from public safety reducing it to $15 million.
Councilmember Michelle Kennedy said, “It’s a nonstarter for me to discuss reducing the housing bond.”
Councilmember Tammi Thurm said, “We have a better chance of passing a bond if we can show that the bond money goes across the city.”