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Brandon Residents Vote No On $12.5M Bond



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Residents of Brandon have voted no on a $12.5 million bond that would pay for an expansion of a local park.
    
Sixty percent of the ballots casted needed to be a ‘yes’ vote, only 6 percent of voters voted just that, while 94 percent voted no.

In the town of Brandon, where the population is just over 9,000, a big portion of those residents are kids who like to play ball.  
     
Bryan Read, Brandon City Administrator said, "We have about 1,100 kids in softball and baseball right now and the existing parks we have now are at capacity."

That leads to the $12.5 million bond that would pay for an expansion of Aspen Park. Currently, the 55.5 acre sports complex has nine baseball fields, two tennis courts, playgrounds, and a community pool. The proposed expansion would add an additional 30 acres and five new ball fields costing around $10 million.

"(There will be) one full-sized baseball stadium, as well as about $2.5 million of improvements to the existing swimming pool," Read explained.

But the bond comes with something else, a hike in property taxes.  The 10 year bond would raise taxes about $265 per year for every $100,000 a home is valued at.

“There's feelings on both sides," Read said. "There are some people who really support it, and then there are others that are strongly opposed to it, so that's why it’s nice that this is a vote so people can express their opinions."

And even after casting a vote, residents still had plenty more to say.
     
John Davoux, resident of Brandon said, "You really believe we need to put more money into a park than the school we will be voting on here in another two weeks? It's absolutely ridiculous."

Voters will be back at the polls to decide on another issue regarding a new school, which many believe the city should be using its money for. On the other hand, some believe fundraising would be a good option for this type of project.
    
David Miller, resident of Brandon said, "If they could do that, raise majority of it, and maybe come back with it, then maybe I'd be more on board with it."

City leaders said since the bond failed, they will have to go back and make a new, less expensive expansion plan.

The final vote was 134 yes to 1,940 no.

 
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