Fuquay-Varina town commissioners tentatively agreed Monday that the upcoming transportation bond will be $26 million.
But before the amount is final, they are asking for public input at a hearing scheduled Monday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
The vast majority of the bond, $21 million, would pay for completing the final section of Judd Parkway, plus other roadwork to reduce congestion in the heart of town. The money also would go toward widening the intersections of Sunset Lake Road and Judd Parkway with Main Street.
Another $5 million would go toward extending water and sewer utilities, which officials say will help with economic development.
If officials still prefer the plan after the Aug. 3 meeting, it will go on the Nov. 3 ballot.
If voters approve the bond, it would mean a potential property tax increase of 6.75 cents per $100. That number could be reduced if the town is successful in its efforts to receive federal road-building funds called a TIGER grant.
Fuquay-Varina’s current property tax rate is 38.5 cents per $100.
Mayor John Byrne said he wants to stress that this is one case in which residents, not the town commissioners, have the ultimate say on whether to raise taxes.
“The bottom line on all of it is we’re moving it forward to ask the people to support it,” he said. “And I think it is really something that’s needed.”
Byrne said they’ve gotten strong messages that people want more to be done to alleviate traffic congestion, and he believes the bond will pass.
Even if the bond passes, he said, it won’t be able to address all of the issues that drivers complain about because many of the worst roads are the responsibility of the state, not the town.
“People look and understand the traffic issues we’re having here in Fuquay-Varina,” Byrne said. “The town is doing everything we can to address these issues. Really, where the emphasis needs to be is talking with our state legislators on how to fix this.”
One commissioner, Mayor Pro Tem Charlie Adcock, previously called for a smaller bond that would only require a 5.5 cent tax increase. At the time, the board was considering a $29 million plan presented by Town Manager Adam Mitchell, which could have resulted in a 7.5 cent increase.
The revised plan resulting in a 6.75 cent increase is somewhat of a compromise.
The main change between the earlier proposal and the one now under consideration is the elimination of funding to extend Broad Street in downtown,to connect it with Johnson Pond Road south of Fuquay-Varina Elementary School. The move would have removed some traffic from Main Street between the school and Sunset Lake Road.
While Adcock said he still would have preferred an even smaller bond, he supports the 6.75 cent plan. All of potential tax increases are worst-case scenarios, he said, and the rate increases could be lower if the town is able to find more revenue through federal grants or other sources.
“I think the board will do everything it can to keep the tax rates down,” Adcock said.
Doran: 919-460-2604; Twitter: @will_doran