Monday, April 28, 2014

City Comes Up With Plan To Fund Street, Parks Improvements

Spokane Mayor David Condon and City Council President Ben Stuckart announced today a refinancing proposal to maintain and enhance streets while at the same time reinvigorating Riverfront Park using money citizens are already spending.

Currently, Spokane’s citizens pay 91 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value toward the repayment of three street and park bonds. With strategic refinancing, the dollars generated could be used to provide:

·         $25 million annually for street funding that would maintain the level of work completed annually on arterials and residential streets under the 2004 Street Bond
·         $60 million for implementation of the new Riverfront Park Master Plan, which was developed with considerable public input
·         Retirement of the current debt

“Just as citizens have refinanced their homes and used the savings to make other investments, we are proposing sustainable funding for streets and reinvigorating our parks all without asking citizens to reach deeper into their pockets,” Condon said in a press release sent out today.

Spokane citizens are currently repaying the 2004 Street Bond, the 2007 Pools and Play Bond, and the 1999 Park Bond. That includes 57 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $57 a year on a $100,000 home, for repayment of the 2004 Street Bond. Payments are currently scheduled to continue for another 16 years without any additional street improvements.

For that same 57 cents per $1,000 of value, a levy would generate around $5 million a year to fund new street work. Those funds would be matched with state, local, and federal transportation and utility dollars to support about $25 million in street improvements annually.

A similar refinancing opportunity is possible for parks. Citizens currently pay 34 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, or $34 a year on a $100,000 home, for repayment of the parks bonds.

Debt from the 1999 bond is set to be retired at the end of the year, while the 2007 bond payments are scheduled to continue through 2027, without any additional park enhancements. For that same 34 cents per $1,000 of value, a new bond would provide $60 million to implement the new Riverfront Park Master Plan and still pay off the remaining debt from the 2007 issue.


indigowulf said...

You roll up this initiative with the one to change the park. If I don't like the changes to the park (which the images now say I won't, it looks like you're making the park into a parking LOT) Then I'll just have to take the bad streets and higher cost, because I won't be tricked into voting yes for something I'm against because you roll it up with something we need.

SRTC Staff said...

Unfortunately, that's the way a lot of plans happen- they start off addressing one issue and others get added in. Keep in mind there is the potential for the proposal to change or be discarded, as the City Council decides whether it will go to voters or not.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.