City planning workshop focuses on possible bond projects

WICHITA FALLS - Improvements at the Multi Purpose Events Center, Lake Wichita and more downtown revitalization plans will all  be up for discussion with city officials and decisions could impact your tax dollars.

At a planning workshop this week, city leaders will look at a possible bond package. If city leaders have to go to voters with a bond, officials say they want to make sure tax dollars are put to good use.

Starting Tuesday, Wichita Falls city leaders will meet for a two day workshop, going over the city's strategic planning goals and a potential bond funding.

"There's some aspects that we need to look at. Whether they're priority, quality of life, infrastructure," Mayor Stephen Santellana said. "We really have to take a hard look at the cost and what it's going to do to our effective tax rate."

Santellana says more than $270 million in city projects will be up for consideration. The following items up for discussion include:

- Strategic goals progress update 
- Public infrastructure overview
- Parks trail projects 
- Parks other projects 
- Lake Wichita projects 
- Street improvements 
- City hall/public safety complex 
- MPEC facilities
- Downtown revitalization 

"When you're in this situation of non-growth in our town and we don't have a whole lot of extra tax base growth and a lot of extra tax money, this is one avenue in order to get some of these projects done and these are needed projects," Santellana said.

"The whole purpose of the exercise is to go through a prioritization process so that the city council and staff can get on the same page as to what might be considered by the voters in the future.” Deputy city manager Jim Dockery says officials will then score those projects, based on overall price tags, importance and tax payer impact. 

“I think that'll become clearer as we go through those discussions with the city council,” Dockery said. “We'll let them know how much this will impact the tax payer.”

City leaders could look at adding a bond proposal to the ballot in either May or November, if a bond is approved. 
The planning workshop will start inside the city council chambers Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 a.m. and we will provide updates on the decisions being made as they are made available.

The last time Wichita Falls voters approved a bond was in 2001, which paved the way to build the Kay Yeager Coliseum. 

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