Tarrant Regional Water District
No positions are up for election in 2018.
|Ballot Proposition||The issuance of $250,000,000 bonds for flood control and drainage facilities and the levy of taxes to pay for the bonds.|
|If I vote FOR||TRWD can issue up to $250,000,000 in bonds, to help fund the Trinity River Vision project.|
|If I vote AGAINST||TRWD cannot issue up to $250,000,000 in bonds to help fund the Trinity River Vision project.|
|Tax Consequences||According to Jim Oliver, TRWD general manager http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article208323074.html, if the bond proposal fails, the Trinity River Vision project might be delayed, raising construction costs; if the project is not built, TRWD would consider raising property taxes to build additional flood controls. The current TRWD tax rate is 1.94 cents per $100 valuation; Oliver stated: “We would probably have to raise the tax rate by 8 cents” to build additional flood controls.|
|What is a bond?||A bond is essentially an IOU. Instead of going to a bank to get a loan, like an individual might do, governments can issue bonds to raise money for specific projects. An investor buys a bond on the understanding that they will be paid back, in full and with interest, on a set date (limited by law to 40 years). In most cases, governments must seek voter approval to issue a bond.|
|What is TRWD?||The Trinity River Water District is the local government agency that provides water to customers within its district, manages the water system and flood protection system, and manages the Trinity River Trails.
|What is the Trinity River Vision project?||The project is a multi-agency effort to rechannel the Trinity River north of downtown Fort Worth. The goals of the publicly-funded project are: “[to] provide flood protection, urban revitalization, environmental cleanup, enhanced recreational opportunities and sustainable infrastructure improvements like new bridges and new/improved roads and trails.” (http://trinityrivervision.org/panther-island/project-goals/)
As described by the Trinity River Vision Authority http://trinityrivervision.org/panther-island/project-goals/, the main elements of the project are:
Flood control infrastructure: a 1.5 mile bypass channel; three v-pier bridges over the bypass channel, for access to/from Panther island; a new dam; three new flood gates; and valley water storage areas.
Panther Island urban revitalization: creates 12 miles of riverfront area, designed for mixed-use development. The TRVA projects over 10,000 housing units and over 3 million square feet of commercial, retail, and educational space in the area.
Gateway Park environmental remediation, expansion, and redevelopment, to include an outdoor amphitheatre, dog park, sports fields, kayak/boating amenities, a 33-acre lake, and other recreational amenities
Infrastructure work on the project began in 2014. In 2016 the US Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2016, which fully authorized the Trinity River Vision project.
The expected project completion date is 2028. The total cost of the project is currently estimated at $1.16 billion (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Feb 7, 2018). http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article198865664.html
|Who runs the Trinity River Vision project, and why is TRWD involved?||The project is managed by the Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA), a government agency formed 2006 to coordinate with the agencies involved. The TRVA board https://trinityrivervision.org/about-us/ is appointed by its local government partners.
The TRWD is involved because it is the agency responsible for the flood control levee system, built in partnership with the US Army Corps of Engineers in the 1960s. Other government partners are: City of Fort Worth; Tarrant County; Texas Department of Transportation; and US Army Corps of Engineers.
|Why does the TRWD want to issue bonds?||According to the TRWD, a bond issue is needed to fund its commitment to the Trinity River Vision project. Originally the TRWD did this using revenues from natural gas activiton TRWD properties. However, as natural gas prices have dropped, this funding source no longer meets the TRWD financial commitment.
The TRWD argues that a bond issue would: provide TRWD funding and help gain matching federal/state funding; help local government partners maintain existing caps on the maximum amount of funding they will provide for the Trinity River Vision project; and not increase the TRWD tax rate, which is included in property taxes. (TRWD, Frequenty Asked Questions).
|How would TRWD pay back the bonds?||The TRWD plans to pay back the bonds using money collected in the Panther Island area tax-increment financing (TIF) district, created by local government. A TIF district means that property taxes collected in the area must be spent in that area. In this case, this means that the bond would be repaid using money collected from Panther Island property owners. (TRWD, Frequently Asked Questions)|
|Want to know more?||TRWD website (Frequenty Asked Questions, January 2018 quarterly report, and engineer’s report), http://www.trwd.com/may2018bondelection/
Trinity River Vision Authority website, http://trinityrivervision.org
“Fort Worth Voters Beware of Proposition Propaganda” (March 27, 2018): blog post by Mary Kelleher, activist and former TRWD board member
“Up A Creek” (2015), documentary about Haltom City resident Layla Caraway and her experience with the Trinity River Vision project https://vimeo.com/125566025
|News articles||"What will $250 million bond for Panther Island project mean for property taxes?", Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Apr 15, 2018) http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article208323074.html
“Buddy, can you spare a billion?”, Fort Worth Weekly (Apr 11, 2018) https://www.fwweekly.com/2018/04/11/buddy-can-you-spare-a-billion/
“Why is Panther Island's price tag soaring?” [editorial], Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Feb. 14, 2018) http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/editorials/article199663009.html
“TRWD calls for $250M bond election for Panther Island project,” Fort Worth Business (Feb 16, 2018) http://www.fortworthbusiness.com/news/trwd-calls-for-m-bond-election-for-panther-island-project/article_326933e8-1378-11e8-a1c0-af8a093c38d4.html
“Panther Island is a cool project, but will Fort Worth voters pay $250 million for it?” Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Feb. 7, 2018) http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/growth/article198865664.html
“Trinity River Vision Costs Could Climb Over $1 Billion with Bond Referendum,” NBCDFW.com (Feb. 5, 2018) https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Trinity-River-Vision-Costs-Could-Climb-Over-1-Billion-with-Bond-Referendum-472862033.html
“Unleashing a Flood of Questions,” Fort Worth Weekly (June 15, 2011) https://www.fwweekly.com/2011/06/15/unleashing-a-flood-of-questions/
“Deep Waters,” Fort Worth Weekly (Aug. 29, 2007) https://www.fwweekly.com/2007/08/29/deep-waters/
“Troubled Waters,” Fort Worth Weekly (Dec. 13, 2006) http://archive.fwweekly.com/content.asp?article=4454
Note: To see the City of Fort Worth Propositions (A to F), visit: City Governments – Fort Worth