Voters approve Williamson road, park bonds

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

For the third time since 2000, Williamson County voters have approved a bond package for road and parks projects across the county.

The $412 million road bond package passed with 62 percent of the vote and the $35 million parks proposal passed with 59 percent.

“I am thankful to the voters in Williamson County for confirming that building and improving roads and parks in our county is important to them,” said Pct. 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long. “I take that confirmation seriously and am getting to work today on the approved projects. Better roads and parks means a better quality of life for our citizens.”

Voter turnout was just over 14 percent of eligible voters with 49,422 going to the polls in the county. Of those, 30,587 supported the road bonds and 28,954 supported the parks proposal.

The road bond package includes a list of must-do projects, which are published in the proposition wording, then the County has put together a list of other projects planned for the bond funds, which includes projects in Liberty Hill – the Long Run extension, an extension of CR 214 and the SH 29 bypass. While these items may not appear in the ballot language, they are projects the County has pledged to complete assuming funds remain available. The total in the bond is intended to cover all projects listed.

Work is expected to begin soon on the long list of projects.

“The next step is to prioritize which projects we will tackle first and select contractors for those and start the engineering portion,” Long said. “Obviously the engineering doesn’t look like anything is happening because dirt is not turning but we have to get the design completed first, right of way acquired, utilities relocated if needed. Those are the next steps.”

Long said she wasn’t sure which Liberty Hill area projects would be addressed first but hoped that would be worked out in the next month or so.

Improvements on Bagdad Road will be completed for the Leander area, with a trail project included that will connect Liberty Hill and Leander on the full stretch of Bagdad.

The second of three sections planned to construct the SH 29 Bypass will connect RR 1869 to CR 279 on the south side of downtown. Eventually the SH 29 bypass is planned to run south of Liberty Hill from SH 29 west of Liberty Hill High School to SH 29 on the east end of town as a southern loop.

The Citizens Bond Committee presented its proposal to Commissioners in June, suggesting a $640 million package, paring down $2.7 billion in initial requests made by county and area city officials.

The first bond election, in 2000, was for $375 million, the second in 2006 was for $250 million and the 2013 bond was for $315 million. Each has passed with a slightly slimmer majority than the previous bond, but all prevailed with 55 percent of the vote or more.

Constitutional Amendments
The Texas Constitution, adopted in 1876, has been amended 498 times prior to Tuesday’s election, and this year’s slate of changes added nine of 10 proposed amendments.
– Proposition 1: (failed statewide and in the County) allows persons to serve as more than one appointed or elected municipal judge.
– Proposition 2: (passed statewide and in the County) allows the Texas Water Development Board to issue up to $200 million in bonds.
– Proposition 3: (passed statewide and in the County) authorizes temporary property tax exemption for disaster areas.
– Proposition 4: (passed statewide and in the County) prohibits the state from levying an income tax on individuals.
– Proposition 5: (passed statewide and in the County) dedicates revenue from the sale of sporting goods to parks, wildlife and historical agencies.
– Proposition 6: (passed statewide and in the County) authorizes the Legislature to increase bonds for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute.
– Proposition 7: (passed statewide and in the County) increases distributions to the state school fund.
– Proposition 8: (passed statewide and in the County) creates a flood infrastructure fund.
– Proposition 9: (passed statewide but failed in the County) authorizes property tax exemption for precious metals held in depositories.
– Proposition 10: (passed statewide and in the County) allows a transfer of law enforcement animals to handlers or others if in an animal’s best interest.

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