Front view of person holding ballot paper casting vote at a polling station for election vote in black background

At an Oct. 1 Glendale Planning Commission meeting, city staff discussed the impact of proposed bonds, highlighting the potential for property tax increases.

Voters will decide four bond measures totaling $187 million Nov. 3. 

The first bond question asks for $87.2 million for a parks and recreation bond. This bond will improve parks by updating playgrounds, restrooms and other infrastructures in need of restoration.

Alongside needed infrastructure improvements, the bond will update the technology available within the parks.

“It reduces manual labor. It reduces staff having to actually go out to the park and investigate what’s going on,” said Pete Garcia, Glendale parks superintendent.

Heroes Park, a regional park located on the west side of Glendale, would receive major improvements. According to Jim Burke, director of public facilities, this includes technological advancements and the development of a lake.

The second bond question seeks $81.5 million for street improvements. This bond is looking to develop a reconstruction program for all arterials/main streets as a 30-year plan. According to Glendale’s website, the bond will focus on specifically improving Bell, Thunderbird and Bethany Home roads.

“The projects would involve construction and reconstruction, which means taking the streets all the way down to the dirt level and rebuilding them. This gives the street a new life of about 30 years,” said Trevor Ebersole, transportation director.

The third bond question on the ballot will ask for $9.9 million to help improve the city’s landfill. Unlike the other three bonds, this bond will not be paid for with property taxes. Instead, the bond will be paid for with landfill user fees.

“The current affair of the landfill right now, we’re projecting it will operate until about 2023-24,” said Bill Stout, solid waste supervisor. To lengthen the amount of time Glendale’s landfill can operate, the bond would be used for a planned expansion. From the bond, $8 million would be put toward the development of a liner, a barrier used to stop a landfill from contaminating the groundwater.

The fourth bond question asks for $9.3 million to handle flood controlling and drainage.

“The main objective on our projects is to improve roadway travel during rain events,” said Jayme Chapin, land development engineer.

Chapin also said the bond will be used to help improve Glendale’s storm sewer system, adding on to the system already in place with a 10-year implementation plan.

While the interest rates can reach 8% according to Glendale’s city analysis, the actual interest rates have the chance of being lower for the bonds on the ballot. Interest rates are at historic lows, currently centering around just 1%.

Glendale will have more debt with the authorization of these bonds, but the city is also working on paying off its debt at the same time. Glendale’s current outstanding debt is at $100.4 million.

“The amount of the proposed bond authorization, combined with the current outstanding debt, would exceed the city’s constitutional debt limit,” said Vicki Rios, assistant city manager. “The city is paying off some existing debt that will keep the amount of outstanding bonds below the constitutional debt limits, and we can assure you that no bonds can or will be issued that would cause the city to exceed the constitutional debt limit.” Rios went through some projections with different interest rates.

At a September meeting, Rios said with the assumption of a 5% interest rate, the annual tax impact on a residence valued at $250,000 would be $172.44 if all four questions pass.

However, she also described a 3.5% model that would allow the city to add these proposed bonds without increasing taxes on residents.