New bonds impact students

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As polls closed and ballots were counted, residents of Austin waited for the results that could decide the fate of their city. During the November elections, nine city improvement bonds were passed that are set to cost the city $925 million dollars. Building affordable housing, improving Emergency Medical Services facilities and water protection quality are just a few of the projects that have been approved in an attempt to improve the quality of living in Austin.

There is no doubt that Austin’s population has grown significantly over the past few years. AP Human Geography teacher Charles Stampley has resided in Austin for 18 years and recognizes how necessary improvements are in response to the growing population.

“Improving Austin’s infrastructure is very important,” Stampley said. “Especially because our population is rapidly increasing.”

Lifelong Austin resident and Bowie High School junior Bevin Flaherty believes that the city needs to make changes in response to population growth and these bonds could significantly help with that.

“I’ve lived in Austin most of my life and I’ve seen how much it has grown,” Flaherty said “This isn’t the same city it was 10 years ago and I think these bonds are just what we need to help us adapt.”

This isn’t the same city it was 10 years ago and I think these bonds are just what we need to help us adapt. ”

— Bevin Flaherty

As the population has increased, the cost of living in Austin increased with it. The current unaffordability of living has prompted many residents to leave.

“Many people can’t afford to live in Austin because the taxes are so high.” Stampley said “This is why the AISD student population is dropping.”

While Austin has become notoriously unaffordable, it’s residents hope to address that issue through the $250 million dollar affordable housing bond.

“I think overall Austin is a more liberal city and try to take into account people who don’t make as much money.” Stampley said “An example of that is the homeless shelter downtown, not many cities have that.”

While many believe that these bonds will be a solution to issues within the city in the long run, they also have concerns in regards to how these projects will disrupt their daily lives while they are in progress.

“Despite how necessary these projects are, people want these infrastructure improvements without the construction,” senior Alyssa Poole said. “For example, the construction on Slaughter Lane is the bane of my existence when it comes to driving to school and whilst these improvements are needed, people are unwilling to cooperate with the construction that is necessary.”

Many people can’t afford to live in Austin because the taxes are so high. This is why the AISD student population is dropping. ”

— Charles Stampley

Although 73% of citizens voted in favor of these bonds in an attempt to improve the city, some believe that there are other factors to be taken into consideration when it comes to the overarching well being of this city. Poole, a first time voter in the November election, believes these bonds are necessary but has her doubts about how accurately they represent the wants of Austin’s residents .

“Hypothetically, the improvement of infrastructure should be beneficial to citizen.” Poole said. “However due to low voter turnout of people voting straight ticket it may not be fully representative of what constituents want.”

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