Critics have questions about Plano's bond election pamphlet

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 10 at 5:21 PM

PLANO — More than 100,000 Plano taxpayers received a colorful booklet in their mail this week. It contains information about the city's upcoming $93 million bond election.

City leaders say the glossy brochure is effective, but some Plano residents argue it's a waste of money.

The booklet explains bond propositions on the May ballot: Street, park and recreation center improvements, and the revocation of $14 million in bonds for the now-defunct Arts of Collin County project.

The pamphlet also lists voting locations, but it doesn't show how much it cost: $15,000 to print and another $16,000 for postage.

"It's 2013. I think everything should be electronic," said Kenneth Carlson, a Plano taxpayer. "If you want to get the publication, there should be an e-mail signup on the city's website."

But Plano's budget director Karen Rhodes-Whitley calls the pamphlet a great way to inform the public, and a valid expenditure of Plano tax dollars.

"To inform the citizens of a $98 million bond package, and you're only spending $30,000? To us, that's a good investment," she said.

McKinney, Frisco and Allen did not do mass mailings before their most recent bond elections.

McKinney prints a voter's guide, which is available at public buildings.

Frisco uses its monthly newsletter to get the word out.

Allen distributes a booklet, but only to residents who ask for it.

Plano taxpayer Kathy Dwyer said she's all for the $31,000 booklets. "Somebody's got to alert the tax base... us people who are paying taxes," she said. "If that's the only way they can do it, I'm for it."

If the bond package is approved, the average Plano taxpayer will pay another $13 a year in taxes.

The city's budget director says the booklets work well. Her proof? Bond issues rarely fail in Plano.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com

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