|McALLEN, November 3 - There is no question that McAllen’s population continues to grow.
This growth has prompted the City of McAllen to call a bond referendum and propose the improvement of seven roads and eight intersections in McAllen.
In order to accomplish these roadway improvements, we are proposing to the citizens of McAllen that we pass a quality of life bond referendum on the ballot this Tuesday.
One of the three bond propositions is Proposition #1 that will provide $15 million for improvements to ease traffic congestion, ease mobility and make intersections safer. The total cost for these improvements is $24 million, and we have identified $9 million from other funding sources to help cover the remainder of the costs.
One of these projects is the Bicentennial from Trenton to SH 107. We have seen the benefits of opening Bicentennial from Nolana to Trenton. Nearby residents can get on this road and drive north or south with a minimal number of traffic lights; allowing them to move across the city much faster. Extending Bicentennial will aid in moving people and goods safely through the city, and it will also prepare us for future residential and commercial growth.
Another capital project is the extension of Erie from Ware Road to Bentsen Road and provide renewed access to the McAllen Botanical Garden with a new entrance and parking lot. I understand this has raised some concern to this proposal. We believe that the parking lot that currently exists right off of Business 83 is not an adequate size for the amount of visitors coming to the garden.
Nature tourism has become an important economic boost to our city. This new two-lane road with a landscaped medium WILL NOT take any property away from the Botanical Garden. This improvement will benefit the nearby Westside Park as well and gives an alternative route to enter the botanical garden without impacting the park’s current vegetation and wildlife.
I am pleased to hear that improvements continue to occur at the Botanical Garden including the renovation and filling of the water pond to provide a much needed internal water source for the birds and animals that live there. As the city grows, we must focus on improving parks to respond to the needs of our environment, as well as our residents and visitors.
Other roadway projects like Dove: from 41st to Bentsen, Oakland: from K to Jackson Road, Wisconsin: from 2nd to Drain Ditch and Auburn: from 10th to Main, all address better traffic flow, pedestrian safety and more street appeal. All of these roadway improvements will have a positive economic impact and provide smoother and faster access to our entertainment venues, shops, stores, restaurants and hotels. This quality of life bond and all three propositions have good revenue generating potential for years to come.
The impact of the bond to taxpayers is estimated at 4˝ cents per $100 assessed valuation. This equates to a $45 tax increase per year per $100,000 property valuation, or $3.75 per month. We will continue to have the lowest tax rate in Hidalgo County. There is no tax increase for homeowners who are 65 years or older and the disabled, and have filed for exemption. We anticipate this bond will be paid off in 20 years and the tax associated with the debt will go away.
I urge people to please go out and vote for the bond and all three propositions so that we can continue to keep up with the pace of growth in our city and prepare us for the future. For additional information about the McAllen bond election and specifically maps for each of the roadway improvements, please visit our city website at www.mcallen.net/bond2013 and at Facebook: Vote For McAllen.
Trey Pebley, is McAllen City Commissioner for District 2.