Voters Pass at Least $15 Billion of Munis, Majority of Proposals
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. voters are slated to approve at least $14.9 billion of local-government debt sales on ballots this election, more than half the amount proposed nationwide, according to preliminary results after Tuesday’s polling.
All in all, voters were asked to decide on about $27 billion of municipal bonds, the lowest tally since 2017, according to data compiled by IHS Markit. The largest measures up for vote were set to fund work ranging from school construction to flood-prevention measures in Virginia Beach.
Many of the races were tight, with some decided by a handful of votes. At least $4.5 billion of bonds failed or were failing, according to Bloomberg calculations.
“Voters in the races this year seem to want government to move more slowly with projects,” said Dan Solender, head of municipals at Lord Abbett & Co. “There has also been a lot of talk about raising taxes too, so maybe some voters are concerned that if they approve these bond issues, it might lead to more taxes.”
Fort Worth, Texas, voters were torn over a $1.2 billion bond to fund construction and renovation of schools in Fort Worth Independent School District. It’s the biggest measure up for consideration this year and part of a nearly $1.5 billion package of debt.
The measure was ahead by about 40 votes, according to unofficial results updated Wednesday after midnight, with around 25,000 ballots cast for the proposition altogether.
Here are some of the largest bond referendums approved so far, according to unofficial results:
- Virginia Beach: Voters approved a $567.5 million bond that would use proceeds to fund flood-mitigation measures like barriers, drainage improvements and pump stations.
- Boise City: Voters passed a $570 million bond to fund improvements to the city’s water renewal system.
- Norwich: Residents approved issuing $145 million of securities to cover the city’s pension debt after retirement costs almost tripled in the past decade.
And here are notable measures that failed or were trailing:
- Leander: Voters rejected a $727 million school bond to build new elementary schools in Leander Independent School District, according to unofficial results.
- Denver: Voters were rejecting $190 million of debt to build a new arena and renovate part of the National Western campus.
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