Come March, Santa Fe residents will have the opportunity to vote on whether the city should spend $22.8 million on a host of projects. Here's what you need to know.
We could write you an entire treatise on municipal bonds, but who wants to read that? Thus, have more fun with our quick Q&A with…ourselves.
What’s a bond?
A bond is basically a loan to the city so it can pay for stuff it needs. (But first, voters must approve the bond—in effect agreeing that the city actually needs the stuff it wants.)
The bond question on the March 6 ballot is actually consists of three separate questions:
It’s a general obligation bond, meaning it’s based on the city’s credit rating and taxing power. The City of Santa Fe recently received a AA+ rating from Fitch, the second-highest credit rating available.
Where does the money come from?
The city plans to pay the bond back through a modest increase in property taxes—a total of approximately $54 per year on a $300,000 property. According to the League of Women Voters, here’s the breakdown:
Yikes. How long will that last?
According to the LWV, 30 years, give or take.
What exactly are we paying for?
Here’s the breakdown, via the City of Santa Fe website:
Bond 1 ($5 million for police and fire facilities)
Bond 2 ($14 million for parks and trails infrastructure)
Bond 3 ($3.8 million for renewable energy projects and watershed improvements)
What are the arguments for and against?
PRO: The city claims that if all three questions are approved, the bond will create 157 construction jobs in Santa Fe; what’s more, it’ll probably help out our quality of life.
CON: For obvious reasons, higher taxes and municipal debt aren’t really in vogue right now.
Can we see the actual questions—like, how they’ll look on the ballot?
Yes! Here they are:
1. Shall the City of Santa Fe issue up to $5,000,000 of general obligation bonds to acquire, design, construct, and improve buildings and equipment for police and fire protection public safety purposes?
2. Shall the City of Santa Fe issue up to $14,000,000 of general obligation bonds to acquire land for, and to plan, design, build, equip, renovate, and improve public parks, bike/pedestrian trails, and related infrastructure?
3. Shall the City of Santa Fe issue up to $3,800,000 of general obligation bonds to acquire, install, construct, upgrade, and improve sustainable environment projects, including renewable energy, arroyo drainage, and watershed security projects?
Tell me what to do!
Not until our endorsements issue, grasshopper. But it’s just a week away…