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Phoenix GO bonds could improve public safety, streets and housing

Southwest Air Pollution
Posted at 6:26 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 14:48:37-04

Next year, Phoenix city leaders will ask voters to approve a $500 million bond.

General obligation bonds allow the city to pay for capital improvements with a public purpose.

“Those can include things like parks and libraries, public safety facilities, street and roadway maintenance as well as flood control projects as well,” said Amber Williamson, the city’s budget and research director.

After conducting a study, the city created a list of priority projects but things can still change.

Starting this month, several council-appointed groups will hold meetings to discuss which projects should receive funding.

“The public is invited to come out to any of the subcommittee meetings to provide their feedback, the subcommittee members would hear that feedback and direct staff if they wanted to have staff bring back more information about a proposed project,” said Williamson.

Some groups have already started advocating for more funding.

P.J. Dean with the Phoenix Firefighters Association said they need more fire stations to improve response times.

As ABC15 previously reported, the city has recommended building or fixing four fire stations. However, Dean told ABC15 they need to double that.

“First and foremost, it’s extremely dangerous for the community,” said Dean.

Dean said the firefighters try to get to calls in under five minutes but their current response time for EMS calls is closer to nine minutes.

“Our response times are only going to get worse,” he said.

“Phoenix is not going to stop growing, so this problem is only going to get worse. And right now, through 2026, it's projected our times will go up to 11 minutes, 2030 they can be up to 14 minutes if the current trajectory holds,” he said.

Some of the public safety subcommittee members have expressed interest in supporting the additional stations. However, that money would come from other projects.

In addition to new infrastructure, a lot of the proposed projects include upgrades or improvements to existing buildings or facilities.

“It has been since 2006 since our last bond program so we know we have a lot of existing infrastructure that’s in need of repair or replacement,” Williamson added.

The subcommittee meetings will take place over the next couple of months and a final list of projects is expected to be approved at the end of the year.

The bond will then be voted on during the 2023 special election next November.