Hays County to launch voter education campaign on $75 million bond for parks

Hays

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Hays County officials plan to kick off a new outreach campaign on Monday to inform voters about a multi-million dollar proposal for parks and open spaces.

Voters in Hays County will decide whether or not to approve roughly $75 million for new parks, trails and open spaces.

That includes a new county park called Sentinal Peak and a fishing area called Cape’s Pond.

Mark Key is one of those opposing the bond.

He says many people–and local governments– have taken a financial hit from the Coronavirus pandemic and county commissioners should have never approved the measure to go on the ballot, in the first place.

“I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ You know, we’re in the middle of the worst pandemic in modern times and they’re going to vote to spend money that we don’t need to spend?” Key says.

In an interview with KXAN shortly after the vote, commissioner Lon Shell said even if the measure gets approved, the county can wait until the economy gets better to spend that money.

“I’ve heard a lot of concerned citizens about, ‘Is it the right time?’ And my answer has been, ‘I believe it’s the right time to see if our voters support bonds.’ The right time that the debt is issued will depend on economic situation,” Shell said. “We can issue it at any time that we choose. It could be technically years later, if things really got tough, We would wait.”

A total of 18 projects were submitted to the Parks and Open Spaces Commission.

Key says there are more important measures he’d like to see taxpayer money to go toward.

“I want the county to keep the roads paved. I want the county to–if we have a flash flood, which is probably the biggest threat that we have in Hays County– to respond immediately,” he says.

County officials say they want voters to be informed before early voting begins on October 13th.

They are set to launch an educational website about the bond on Monday at www.Hays2020ParksBond.com.

Additional bonds on the ballot

Voters in Kyle will also be considering two other measures: Proposition A and Proposition B.

Prop-A would fund a new public safety center for $37 million.

City officials moved to push any tax impact down the road to October 2021 due to COVID-19.

Then, the average property owner with a home that costs $216,000 would see a property tax increase of about $13.50 per month, according to the city.

Prop-B puts an additional $10 million up for voter approval.

The measure would allow the city to sell “general obligation bonds to fund property acquisition, planning, designing, developing, constructing, improving and equipping of a public park specifically a Regional Sportsplex and Festival Grounds.”

You can learn more about both propositions here.

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