By: Sharon Aron Baron
Coral Springs voters have an opportunity to make much-needed improvements to the city, that is, if they vote yes on three general obligation bonds totaling $75 million in the March 13 election.
Divided on the ballot as three separate questions: Bond for Public Safety, Bond for Parks and Recreation, and Bond for Streets and Drainage. Voters can then choose to vote for or against each one.
Improvements would include: Public Safety and Public Works Campus improvements including an expansion of the Fire Academy, renovation of the garage and storage facility that houses the city’s operating supplies, and construction of a real-life tactical facility for police personnel. Mullins Park, North Community Park, Cypress Park and Sportsplex will also see improvements with the addition of artificial turf and new LED lighting.
Funding to implement the city’s Pavement Management Plan, including more than 85 lane miles that have not been resurfaced in the last 20 years, will be made available if voters vote yes. Areas such as the Corporate Park, where many businesses are located, as well as residential neighborhoods like Westchester, and the Meadows and Dells will see various improvements to the existing drainage system, mitigating flooding severity and duration.
In addition, there will be enhancements to public amenities such as a new senior center and upgrades to the aquatic center.
In October, residents were hit with the largest tax increase in years after the millage rate went from 4.8 percent to 5.87 percent. A family residing in a $250,000 home, saw their taxes increase $250 annually. According to the city, the bond will provide improvements to infrastructure, public facilities and amenities which require funding beyond that of the normal operating budget and the recent tax increase.
Based on a $250,000 home, the average breakdown in annual costs for the three bond issues would be: Public Safety $43, Parks and Recreation $41, and Streets and Drainage $39. Therefore, If the bond measures passes, beginning October 1, 2018, the average single-family home will see an increase of $123.00 to their annual property taxes.
“I would vote yes,” said resident Andrew Ladanowski. “The economy is growing and we need to invest in our city. Kids need ball fields. We need to proper facilities to train our firefighters and it would be nice to have an amphitheater. I always wanted to sneak over to Parkland for a concert at their amphitheater.”
Resident Michael Black agrees with most of the improvements as long as they enrich the community, however, he didn’t agree with license plate readers around the city.
“I would vote against any measure that infringes on the rights of its citizens. The purpose should be for public safety,” said Black. “I’d love to hear the rationale behind the measure before making a judgement.”
• Public Safety and Public Works Campus $18,500,000
• Fire Station 64 Reconstruction $4,000,000
• License Plate Readers-Perimeter & Interior $1,600,000
• Tactical Training Facility $1,500,000
• Two Emergency Traffic Signals $700,000
• Parks & Recreation Lighting $3,400,000
• Aquatic Complex New Pool + Enhancements $5,600,000
• Park Artificial Turf Fields $8,000,000
• Amphitheater/Splash Pad $2,000,000
• Senior Center $5,000,000
• Mullins Park-New American League Building $1,000,000
• Road Resurfacing $13,250,000
• Corporate Park Drainage $4,300,000
• Westchester Drainage $5,000,000
• Meadows and Dells Drainage Improvements $1,000,000
General obligation bonds are a common type of municipal bond issued by states and local governments to raise funds for public works. What makes general obligation bonds unique is that they are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing municipality.
Historically, residents of Coral Springs have voted in favor of general obligation bonds – once in 2006 and more recently in 2014. The $12.45 million bond of 2014 was approved by 72 percent of residents. The projects included updates to Public Safety Communication Systems, restoring of Fire Station 43 and 95, renovation of the Crime Scene Investigation and Evidence storage unit, and the construction of a new Safety Town Building. All were completed within two years and remained within budget.
City Manager Mike Goodrum said, “Our goal is to preserve the acclaimed reputation of the City of Coral Springs. With these measures in place, we can significantly invest in our neighborhoods to improve our city.”