On May 4th, voters in Amarillo will not only have to make decisions about the composition of the Amarillo City Council and school district boards, but also on a major bond proposal.
During a Friday afternoon meeting, the Amarillo College Board of Regents voted 7-0 to send an $89.2 million bond proposal to the May 4th ballot. Board members say the bond, if approved, would mainly be used to fund campus structure improvements, in preparation for an upcoming civil rights audit. The bond would also be used to fund the establishment of a downtown “innovation hub,” although it is not clear exactly what that particular project would entail.
During the meeting, AC Regent Johnny Mize told the board he believes the bond proposal allows the college to obtain “need” projects, while cutting out many of the more “want” based projects.
“We felt like that number would meet the needs but not create an extra expense,” Mize said, also adding that the $89 million number came based off of an original price tag of around $150 million.
Mize also said the bond proposal went through “a lot of discussion,” citing two and a half hours of conversations by the board regarding the proposal. Mize’s proposal for the $89.2 million bond was met with mostly positive feedback by the board, with all members except for two absent regents - Patrick Miller and Sally Lampe Jennings - voting for the proposal.
Regent Michelle Fortunato also expressed her agreement with the proposal for the bond, saying she voted to send the bond to the ballot due to her desires to take care of AC’s campuses.
“The decline in state funding that we’ve had…there hasn’t always been the funds to take care…of our campuses,” Fortunato said.
Board president Dr. Paul Proffer confirmed to Regent Dan Henke during the meeting that if approved, voters could see about a 14 percent tax increase in the Junior College District.