No $18.1 million bond issue on Coral Springs ballot

Coral Springs has shelved its plans to put an $18.1 million bond issue on the March ballot.

When the item was first discussed, Vice Mayor Dan Daley, as well as Commissioners Larry Vignola and Lou Cimaglia, were in favor of putting the item on the ballot, but after one-on-one talks with city staff, the City Commission voted unanimously to table the issue. One of the items that the proposed bond issue would have helped fund — the construction of a new humane unit — will be taken up this year itself with the city spending $350,000 from its fund balance.

If the officials had decided to go ahead with the bond issue, it would have been the second public safety bond referendum in less than two years. The extra cost to the average homeowner would have been $34.

In 2014, voters approved the issue of general obligation bonds to fund capital improvement projects worth $12.5 million. This year, the city commissioners approved a tax hike. City staff will take another look at the projects and come back to the commission with a recommendation on how to fund them.

City officials and staff are hoping that the legislature would provide money to at least partly fund some of the projects on the list.

Mayor Skip Campbell, who had been, from the outset, against putting the item on the ballot, was happy to see that everyone else now had the same opinion. “This is the best thing we can do for the city,” he said. “We should not be voting on this tonight.”

The city will now focus on finishing work on projects that are being funded with money from the 2104 bond issue.

“We do have a list of projects in front of us right now,” said City Manager Erdal Donmez. “We have two fire stations being reconstructed. That will take a year or so.

“We also have the construction of the safety town building. We will vet the projects (on the new list) and come back to you. At that time, we should have our current projects complete or near completion.”

Among the projects that the city had thought of funding with the proposed $18.1 million bond issue are the design and construction of the West Side Complex, as well as the expansion of the Fire Academy.

The design and construction of the West Side Complex is expected to cost $11.1 million, while the cost of the parking garage is $1.6 million. The Fire Academy project, which includes expansion of the building and the parking area, is estimated to cost $4 million. A new public safety command vehicle will cost $950,000.

The eastern side of the West Side Complex was built in the 1970s, while the western side was constructed in 1997. Both sides do not meet the current building code. The public safety command bus now being used is 16 years old and “functionally obsolete,” according to staff.

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