At the bottom of every midterm election ballot in Austin this November, there will be seven bond propositions that will cost the city $925 million total if enacted.
Though bond propositions rarely receive the fanfare and media attention of individual candidates, Maya Patel, interim president of TX Votes, considers educating voters about them to be a top priority.
“I always like to say the local elections are what’s going to affect your life the most,” said Patel, a chemistry senior. “If you ever complain about traffic in Austin, or the bus system, or you enjoy using Zilker park — everything you enjoy about Austin or dislike about Austin, those are the local issues that are being voted on in bond propositions.”
Proposition A is the most expensive bond voters will be asked to consider, with a price tag of $250 million dedicated to affordable housing. According to the proposal, the bond would offer funds to build new affordable housing and improve existing low-cost options.
With proposition B, the city looks to make major upgrades to Austin’s libraries and replace the Dougherty Arts Center. The proposal requests $128 million to accomplish those tasks and update other museums and cultural centers in Austin.
Both proposition C and D tackle environmental issues, such as maintaining parks and protecting water quality. Both would bear expenses similar to B, costing $149 million and $184 million respectively.
All seven propositions are supported by Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Earlier this month, Adler spoke at a rally for Austin Together, a political action committee encouraging voters to support the bonds.
“People look around this city and they say they want to keep things moving forward that we like, they want to respond to the challenges that we have,” Adler said at the event. “This is an opportunity for the community to come together to do that.”
The least expensive proposition, E, is set aside for the construction of a new public health and human services building in Dove Springs. All $16 million approved in the bond would be dedicated to opening a center that would offer services including immunizations and childcare.
Proposition F delegates $38 million for public safety resources such as renovations to fire stations, while proposition G allocates $160 million for transportation infrastructure, such as street, sidewalk and bridge reconstruction.
Assuming all seven bond proposals are approved by Austin voters, the $925 million bill would be paid for by a $5 increase in monthly taxes for most homeowners. Kathleen Doviken, communications director for University Democrats, which supports all seven proposals, said the tax increase is worth it in the long run.
“The city has been growing at such a fast rate that we really do need these propositions to pass so we can continue to make Austin a good place to live for everybody, regardless of your income level,” French senior Doviken said. “The long-term impact of the bond propositions more than makes up for what the small increase in taxes would be.”
The College Republicans at Texas and UT’s chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas have not publicly endorsed or opposed any bond propositions.