The City of Dallas finalizes its 2017 municipal bond program on Aug. 8.
If voters approve the program in the November election the city could borrow $800 million to be spent on street improvements, libraries, infrastructure, parks and recreation, cultural programs and more.
Dallas has about $1.75 billion in outstanding general obligation debt. That’s about $1,347 per resident, less than Austin and Houston but more than San Antonio and Fort Worth.
Despite these overwhelming numbers, the vast majority of taxpayers in Dallas are disengaged from the bond proposal. Just 546 people cared enough to attend town hall meetings on the topic last year. Out of a population approaching 1.3 million. Dallas voters are the worst in the nation. Less than 8 percent of registered voters turned out for the local elections this past May.
But the city has some hard choices this time around. Spend $400 million to keep our roads graded at a “C”? Or spend $500 million to bring them up to a “B.” Should we spend on alleys, sidewalks and bike lanes and risk the roads degrading further?
These numbers are all so huge that we wanted to put a little perspective on $800 million. Here are four ways to size up $800 million:
It’s the estimated sale value of True Value Co.
It’s how much the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie is expected to gross.
It’s the amount of revenue that United Airlines is estimated to have lost after a passenger was forcefully removed from a flight earlier this year.
With $800 million, you could buy Alex Rodriguez’s Major League Baseball contracts from 2001-2017 and Albert Pujols’ from 2012-2021, plus this Faberge egg.