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August 22, 2014

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Look who's on board

Look at the picture and at who's quoted from the new PAC. No real transit advocates; just "city leaders" - i.e. insiders and real estate developers. That should tell you how this project rates on actual transportation grounds.

Mike Dahmus 57 days ago

Pro-Rail Bait & Switch; Time to "Bail on Rail"

City Forecasting 40% Property Tax Increase over 5 years to Begin to Pay for Rail

City of Austin officially forecasting the need to raise CoA property taxes 40% over the next 5 yrs. to cover "Impact of Anticipated Bond & Tax-Rate Elections," that's Leffingwell's LPA Rail.

Slide from:

http://leadershipaustin.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/IOA_presentation_session_2_eenoo.pdf

http://leadershipaustin.org/2014/08/15/wrap-up-and-resources-from-the-imagine-one-austin-information-series/

Austin City Council Actually Not Allowing Voters the Final Say on $400 Million for Roads;
Voters Only Voting on $600M for Rail

City Council has put the question on the ballot to voters ONLY for $600M for Rail. Voters are not being asked to approve $400M for Roads. Language of the Ordinance and their Resolution gives decision making responsibility on the $400M for Roads to the City Council, that could be the current Council or the next 10-1 Council. The $400M for Roads is a condition before the funding for rail can move forward, even if voters approve of Rail on Nov. 4. The other condition before rail can move forward is equal match in funds for Rail from the Federal Govt.

Current Council could pass $400M in Certificates of Obligation approval right now, but then there would be no reason for voters who only want Road funding to vote for Rail. More likely current Council are kicking the can down the road to the 10-1 Council to address the $400M for Roads.

The 10-1 Council could either pass $400M in mismatched Certificates of Obligation for Roads, which do not require voter approval, or pass something less than $400M in CO's for Roads and thereby delay funding for Rail (condition not met until $400M), or put the $400M for Roads on the 2015 or 2016 Ballot in more appropriate form of General Obligation Bonds for voter approval.

The City Council's SPECIAL CALLED MEETING heard a non-binding Resolution which did not actually change anything, but was an effort at 'spin control,' and which leaves intact Deceptive Ballot language giving voters the impression that they are voting on $400M for Roads, which THEY ARE NOT. See:

8/7 Ordinance & Ballot Language: http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=213995

8/14 Resolution: http://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=603&doctype=agenda

Background on Certificates of Obligation

Austin's current outstanding balance of Certificates of Obligation are $166 Million out of $5.2 Billion in total debt. $400M additional would more than Triple Austin's outstanding balance of CO's.

A Certificate of Obligation is a form of debt available to governing councils originally intended in cases of emergency that need immediate action without time for voter referendum. CO's carry as much as a point and a half higher interest rate than GO's. The intent of Certificates of Obligation are being abused, allowing local officials to assume debt for non-emergency expenditures without the need of taxpayer approval.

Rail Lubber 58 days ago

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