An explanation on why to vote ‘Yes’ on GO bonds
Dear Mr. Rey
My two cents about the controversy surrounding the General Obligation bond (referendum):
Initially there was a vote of the council to put on the November ballot a referendum question for the voters to decide to go beyond the existing debt cap and to be able to issue General Obligation bonds to finance a number of still to be designed, cost budgeted, and approved resiliency related projects. A number of $100 million was attached to both the bonds and the projects. This confused many because it seemed that we would be voting in November on raising the debt cap, issuing 100 million of debt AND also giving the village council and management a blank check to spend such money. This was the wrong approach and unfortunately both confused and concerned many. Thankfully, at the last hour at least the issue of raising the debt cap was abandoned.
What is on the ballot now is simply whether the village can issue a general obligation bond as an instrument to finance projects. As I understand it, state law requires the citizens of a city or municipality to approve such before it can issue a GO Bond as a method of financing.
The reason why it is important for this referendum question to be in the November ballot is because during a general election is when most people go out to vote, rather than in an off season special election. A GO bond is often the cheapest and longest term financing available for a city or municipality. Having their issuance approved is very important as resiliency and infrastructure projects are designed, reviewed, budgeted, and voted on by the then sitting council, project by project.
A supermajority of the then sitting council is needed to approve the spending. Any issuance will not be done unless the projects are approved and voted on. Again, we are not voting in November to allow the money to be spent. In fact, even without a GO Bond approved the council and village could approve the same projects and go ahead, simply by using an alternate method of financing.
What is an absolute truth is that global warming is here now and that we must take this seriously now. As a matter of fact, you could even argue we should have already started. We must spend money to protect this wonderful place we live in and our property values. That money must be found and financed in the best way possible. That is all we are voting on now, plain and simple.
Will our taxes eventually go up? Most likely. Should we make sure the Village’s overall expenses are constantly reviewed and controlled? Surely. Can we do our best to protect the island from global warming without spending a lot of money? No.
So I say we go ahead and vote “Yes” on approving what could be the best financing mechanism. That is the easy part. How fast we can move on deciding and approving the right resiliency projects and actually getting them started is the tougher road ahead. But that is NOT what we are voting in in November.