San Antonio voters back big bond issue

Reuters News
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Posted: May 12, 2012 11:43 PM
San Antonio voters back big bond issue

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - San Antonio voters on Saturday approved $596 million in new municipal debt for the city, part of $1.8 billion in proposed bond issues put before voters in a dozen Texas cities and nearly four dozen school districts across the state.

By a 2-1 margin, San Antonio voters passed the $596 million bond proposal to finance 140 projects, including streets, parks, and museums.

Mayor Julian Castro, a Democrat, campaigned for the bond issue, saying it was needed in one of the nation's fastest-growing cities, which grew by 220,000 over the past decade to more than 1.3 million residents. San Antonio is the state's second-largest city after Houston, and the 10th most populous U.S. city.

Carri Wells, one of the architects of the bond package, said San Antonio was the only one of the 10 biggest U.S. cities to have a top credit rating from all the major ratings agencies.

Even with the new debt, the city will be under 20 percent of its total bonding capacity, Wells said.

The fate of the other $1.2 billion in debt proposals was not immediately available.

(Editing By Andrew Stern and Peter Cooney)