Voters to decide on multi-million dollar bond initiatives in SE Texas

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A closer look at just some of the bond issues voters will decide on in the 2015 elections in the Greater Houston area. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

For voters across southeast Texas, they face a whole lot of spending questions on this year's ballot. Leaders have sent massive bond referendums to the people. They want them to shell out millions for new parks, roads, and schools among other things.

Harris County voters must decide whether to spend almost $850 million on projects. Officials want $700 million for roads, $60 million for new parks, $24 million for a new animal shelter, and $64 million for flood control.

Baker Institute Fellow Mark Jones at Rice University said voters need to educate themselves on these issues because their vote could last a generation.

"Most of the road construction that is going to take place as a result of this bond will take place in unincorporated northwest and west Harris county," said Jones. "For citizens particularly inside the 610 Loop that don't venture out past Beltway 8, they're not going to see any dramatic increase in the quality of their roads which are primarily controlled by the city of Houston."

Jones explained three-quarters of the new growth in the Houston area has happened in unincorporated parts of Harris County. He said many roads have sat unchanged since first being built by developers decades ago.

In Montgomery County, voters face multi-million dollar questions as well. Leaders want $280 million for new roads.

Conroe ISD wants $487 million for new schools. Cleveland ISD is asking for $35 million. Magnolia ISD wants $92 million, of which $8 million would go toward new football fields. Willis ISD wants voters to approve $109.5 million in bonds.

Other school districts asking for money include Alvin ISD and Waller ISD. Alvin ISD wants $245 million. Waller ISD wants $71.3 million.

In Fort Bend County, leaders want voters to approve almost $100 million in bonds. The list includes $62.9 million for county buildings, $19.8 million for libraries, $9.9 million for parks, and $6 million for fairground improvements.

Voters in League City and Clear Lake Shores also must decide whether they want to pay an extra percent in sales tax for road improvements.
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