I have been deliberating sending out this update, but decided we have a duty to let North Austinites to know what is coming - which is yet another hike in our house taxes, with nothing to show for it at our end of town.
Last October, the City started pulling together a bond committee to look at what projects would be selected for a 400 million dollar bond package to be put on the 2012 ballot. At first glance, some of these things sound good: improvements to things like fire and police safety, and libraries. The bottom line, though, is there is something really wrong with the math.
I'd like to walk you through the numbers.
78758, 78757, 78753 (sorry, I made a typo in my original email), and 78759 are the zipcodes serviced by North Lamar and Burnet. That is 150,000 people who use those roads - 20% of Austin. The North Lamar/Study shows we had 770 accidents on North Lamar and 440 accidents on Burnet in the past 2 years.
Now if 20% of Austinites are being serviced by two roads that are failing so badly there are 600 accidents a year, that's a major problem, right?
Which is why I decided to send this email. As far as I can tell, neither the City nor the bond committee sees any urgency to get the improvements suggested by North Lamar/Burnet study included in the next bond package.
This is where I can't seem to get the math to work out in my head. This new bond package is going to cost each of us probably $40-60 more a year on house taxes. I am all for improving things in the city - but my house taxes went up again for the fourth straight year, and now it looks I am expected to shell out more money next year, and for what?
So we can have another 600 accidents on North Lamar and Burnet next year?
So we can have more 17 pedestrians hit on North Lamar next year, which also just happens to carry the North Lamar bus route, which has the highest ridership in the city?
And of course, lets not forget, these accidents will continue occur while people downtown get to walk safely on the $20 million dollar boardwalk around Ladybird Lake. (which somehow wound up costing $4 million dollars more than the City promised)
We have found out that the bond committee is tentatively scheduling a public meeting on the bond package on March 21st, at Gus Garcia Rec Center on East Rundberg, across from Dobie Middle School.
We don't have any more info right now about this meeting (we will continue provide you more details as soon we get them), but we wanted to give North Austinites the heads up that you will have a chance to come and tell the bond committee what you think about the City making North Lamar/Burnet such a low priority.
Remember - its your $60 they are spending.
Update, North Austin Community Newsletter
Editor, Mary Rudig