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Phoenix seeks public input amid $500M general obligation bond campaign

Photo of Phoenix City Council Chambers
A peek inside the backdrop of the Phoenix City Council Chambers. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)

Phoenix GO Bond meetings seek to educate, hear from residents

Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Phoenix City Council earlier this summer approved moving forward with a proposed general obligation bond program of $500 million.

GO Bond programs help to fund critical infrastructure and rehabilitation needs of city facilities such as parks, libraries, fire and police stations, affordable housing, streets and storm drains.

GO Bond Programs require City Council and voter approval.

CHECK OUT AN ENGLISH-LANGUAGE VIDEO ON THE 5-YEAR GO BOND PROPOSAL
CHECK OUT AN SPANISH-LANGUAGE VIDEO ON THE 5-YEAR GO BOND PROPOSAL

A view of Phoenix City Hall. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)

What is a Phoenix general obligation bond?

General obligation bonds are municipal bonds that provide a way for local governments to finance large capital improvements, city officials say.

A bond program includes both the authority to issue bonds and a listing of the purposes for which the funds may be used. General obligation bond programs, such as the city of Phoenix’s bond program, require voter approval. The city of Phoenix is the fifth largest municipality in the country and has not had a GO Bond Program since 2006, according to a press release.

Phoenix City Council appointed a citizen’s GO Bond Committee on June 1 to evaluate and prioritize proposed projects identified in the capital needs study and to hear from residents what they would like to see in the next GO Bond program. In addition to an executive committee, there are eight subcommittees:

  • Arts & Culture;
  • Economic Development and Education;
  • Environment & Sustainability;
  • Housing;
  • Human Services & Homelessness;
  • Neighborhoods & City Services;
  • Parks & Recreation;
  • Public Safety; and
  • Streets & Storm Drainage.

City officials say subcommittees will receive presentations about proposed projects, hear from the public, then rank the projects that will be recommended to the executive committee.

The executive committee is charged with making recommendations to be considered by City Council. The City Council will then decide if a GO Bond Program will go to the voters. If approved by council, voters will ultimately choose whether or not to adopt the GO Bond Program, November 2023.

Committee meetings will take place between August 2022 and December 2022 and will be open to the public for comment.

What type of Phoenix projects will be proposed?

City officials say general obligation bonds pay for major capital improvements that serve a public purpose, such as renovating and building new parks and libraries, investing in the Phoenix Housing Plan, the Climate Action Plan, street and storm drainage projects and even public safety infrastructure like a new fire station or police precinct.

Money from GO Bonds cannot be used for ongoing operating costs such as administrative expenses and employee salaries.

Does the proposed 2023 GO Bond Program anticipate an increase in secondary property tax rates? No, city officials report.

The GO Bond Program does not include a planned increase in the municipal secondary property tax rate, which is used to calculate secondary property tax revenues dedicated to paying the debt service on GO Bonds. This means that future property tax revenues at the existing secondary property tax rate are projected to be sufficient to repay the bonds, absent unanticipated legislative and/or economic changes, city official report.

Make your voice heard

Officials at city encourage residents to engage with municipal leaders through social media by using the #GOPHX2023 or by using the interactive GOPHXTOOL, an online tool that allows residents to tell the GO Bond Committee which projects they would like to see recommended to City Council.

photo of Phoenix City Hall
A picturesque view of Phoenix City Hall at 200 W. Washington St. in downtown Phoenix. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress.com)
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