LUBBOCK, Texas — The Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Tuesday recommended the Lubbock City Council bring a $200 million road bond package to voters this November, paving the way for a new street plan after voters rejected their original $174.5 million proposition last year.
“The consensus of the committee was that yes, there is a need for a bond election,” committee chair Heather Keister said. “Our committee had a priority on building a package that could be supported by the community and benefits the whole city.”
If city council accepts their recommendation as is, the plan will be sent for voter approval as a single proposition and will cover improvements to major arterial streets including 34th, 82nd and 114th Street, as well as Milwaukee Avenue and MLK Boulevard.
Lubbock Chief Financial Officer Blu Kostelich estimated the bond will require a 2.5 cent property tax increase spread out over five years. He said that equates to an additional 12 to 15 dollars per year for the average Lubbock home. That is three to six dollars more per year than the bond that failed last year, and this package as a whole costs about $25 million more.
The committee also said that while there was unanimous agreement that Broadway needs to be fixed, they disagreed on the scope and design of a the project. They decided to leave Broadway out of the plan, citing worries that voters will not support it.
“It didn’t make the final cut because we didn’t want to put the bond at risk,” Keister said. “It really came down to the importance of this election. We talked about the risks of failure, and we definitely want this to be supported.”
Broadway renovation poses unique challenges, including disagreement over which section to prioritize, whether to keep or replace the historic red bricks, and whether there is even enough brick available to replace them. Still, some city council members expressed disappointment that Broadway will have to wait.
“I’ll publicly express my disappointment that we can’t get started on Broadway,” District 4 councilman Steve Massengale said. “It’s a critical need in downtown Lubbock.”
“It’s a terrible road. It has got to be addressed at some point,” Mayor Tray Payne said.
The committee also recognized the need for public outreach and education to ensure a bond proposal passes, recommending the city create a privately-funded Political Action Committee to promote it.
The bond is not all the committee wanted, but all they believe they can get passed right now.
“Recognizing the times we are living in, we know there are a lot of needs. But the committee feels that the needs exceed the bond package that we feel comfortable recommending at this time,” Keister said.
The plans also include separate neighborhood reconstruction in Dunbar/Manhattan Heights and high density areas of Districts 1 and 2 with residential unpaved roadways. The money does not include maintenance costs, which the committee said should not be funded through a bond.
If city council chooses to put this on the November ballot, the council would have to convene two times the following Monday to call that election.
The council will make a decision on these recommendations at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday, August 9.
“We really need to leave on the 9th knowing ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” City Manager Jarrett Atkinson told the council. “Are we going forward with the committee’s recommendations as they are presented?”