Two propositions in Krum were given a second chance Tuesday by voters, who decided to support nearly $2.8 million in tax bonds for a new fire station and a public works building.
The proposition for the two items originally failed during the May election, after voters deadlocked in a tie at the polls.
As early voting numbers trickled in, support for the fire station and public works department started strong and it remained constant as Election Day ballots were counted. The propositions included a $1.9 million tax bond for the fire station and $446,000 for the new public works facility and data collection system to monitor the city’s water systems.
Proposition 1 for the fire station passed 257 to 169. The second proposition for a public works facility passed 239 to 185.
Educating the community about the issues played a huge role in the election outcome, said Fire Chief Ken Swindle.
“It’s very exciting,” he said. “People came out to vote and they agreed that we needed a new building.”
The current fire station and public works buildings are more than 40 years old, and officials say each department has outgrown its facilities.
Public Works Director Adam Ferguson and Swindle both said their buildings were good at the time they were built, but it’s time to update.
Getting Krum residents on board with the proposition proved challenging the first time around.
In May, city officials placed a single proposition on the ballot for the issuance of $2.8 million in tax bonds for the new fire station and a new public works facility.
City officials felt confident the proposition would pass, citing widespread positive feedback from the community.
However, voters deadlocked on the ballot — 175 to 175.
Opponents of the proposition said they were against the proposition because of the debt the city would incur, and they cited that the city is already buried in debt. However, data from the Texas Bond Review Board shows that Krum has one of the lowest tax debts per capita, compared to cities and towns of similar size.
City officials blamed the failed proposition in May on the spread of misinformation throughout the community.
Soon after the election, council members weighed their options and, at one point, discussed the possibility of issuing certificates of obligation bonds, which do not require a citywide vote. But officials took the issue back to the voters.
City Council member Bert Whitherspoon said it is important to build the two facilities now, before Krum really needs them.
“You don’t want to build something you need after you need them,” he said during a recent council meeting. “We need to make sure the city is taken care of now and not rely on the future council to handle it.”
Both the fire chief and the public works director said the area’s projected population growth fueled their reasons to push for the new buildings.
In 2010, Krum had about 4,100 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. According to state data and population projections, the city’s population will nearly double in about 30 years.
And by 2060, the state anticipates the city will reach nearly 14,000 residents, according to projections.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @Jdharden.
Proposition 1: Issuance of a $1.9
million bond for a new fire station
Proposition 2: Issuance of a
$426,000 bond for a public works
building and data system