Despite a shaky economy prompting voters to hold their wallets tight, Tempe residents seemed set to overwhelmingly approve four bonds funding more than $240 million in improvements.
With early votes counted, representing about a third of all votes cast, three bonds received at least 72 percent approval. Those will fund improvements to the municipality’s public safety infrastructure, water system and road network.
And the fourth bond, for park improvements and community services, got the support of nearly two-thirds of the voters.
Barb Carter, secretary of the bond committee, said Tempe citizens trust the city to spend their money wisely.
“It’s a testament to the leadership of the city,” Carter said Tuesday night. “The people believe they get the most bang for their buck.”
The bonds were for:
• Installing new water and sewer pipelines and expanding treatment capacity; $113.3 million.
• Street improvements and storm drains; $44.2 million.
• Public safety; $32 million.
• Renovations to parks, sports facilities and city museum; a new scoreboard at Tempe Diablo Stadium; $51.8 million.
Bond proponents were leery of asking voters to approve multimillion-dollar bonds in a time of economic crisis.
In June, the Tempe City Council was worried enough to consider pushing back the bond election to next year. But the date was kept in place after a split vote. Carter, then on the council, was among the majority.
Troubles on Wall Street have created another point of concern.
Because of the credit crunch, many cities across the nation are finding it difficult to sell their municipal bonds. And when they do, they must offer interest rates far above what they are accustomed to paying.
In fact, some financial experts are touting the municipal bond market as undervalued for its low prices and high yields.