Democracy works best when informed citizens take part in the process. Austin, Texas, is too large a city to hold a town hall meeting, and yet in the past few years thousands of Austinites have collaborated in the Imagine Austin comprehensive planning process, sharing their visions and ideas on how Austin should develop over the next three decades. Participants have understood that by envisioning their ideal community and sharing their views now, they have a much better chance of living in that community in the future. In the next few months, Austinites will have more opportunities to bring their voices to the table.
The next step involving public input is the bond development process for the City of Austin. In a bond package, the City borrows money to pay for Capital Improvement projects such as buildings, streets, parks, or other facilities. On October 6, 2011, the Austin City Council established a Bond Election Task Force to identify and prioritize bond funding for capital projects. These projects are intended to advance the vision identified by the Imagine Austin process. The Task Force and City will be calling on Austinites at various points during the bond development process to help prioritize the capital projects to be constructed over the next few years.
The Task Force, City staff and the community will collaborate over the next several months to identify and review potential projects and programs for future bond funding. Citizens will be asked to help prioritize guiding principles that were identified during the Imagine Austin process:
- Infrastructure to maintain City services
- New initiatives
- New mobility capacity
- Cost effectiveness
- A balanced approach
The Task Force will then provide recommendations for the City Council to consider when developing the bond package.
Austinites will have a variety of opportunities to provide input:
- Speak Week(s) Starting in January, 2012, the City will set up booths across Austin and solicit public feedback on guiding principles for the Bond Development process.
- Bond Development Open House, February 7, 2012 at the Palmer Events Center, will be an opportunity for citizens to learn more about the bond development process and guiding principles.
- Community Meetings/Workshops, February, March & Summer 2012, to review potential projects and seek public feedback on how potential bond dollars should be spent, if approved by voters.
If citizens are unable to attend the meetings above, they can still share ideas by calling (512) 539-0060, emailing comments to email@example.com, or by visiting the bond development process website.
So speak up, Austin! Now is your chance to co-create a liveable city that accurately reflects our new group vision.