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Only 61 of 105 city bond issues win voter OK.

Voters in cities and towns approved only 61 of 105 municipal bond issues last Tuesday affecting nearly $2.5 billion in education, health care, environmental, economic, and other public infrastructure projects. Those approved, however, were the largest ones, accounting for 94.5 percent of the funds sought.

The largest bond approval came in St. Louis, wher citizens adopted a $1.5 billion bond proposal to expand the airport. Voters in Houston approved a $500 million bond referendum as part of a 5-year, $3.1 billion capital improvement plan.

In a key election in Bridgeport, Connecticut, voters rejected incumbent Republican Mayor Mary Moran in what some called a referendum on her historic decision to file a petition for municipal bankruptcy. Her successful opponent, newly elected Mayor Joe P. Ganim, had pledged to drop the city's appeal to the U.S. District Court.

The Bridgeport case is the first major test of the landmark legislation passed by Congress in 1988 to permit cities and towns to seek protection from debtors in order to reorder their budgets. In opposing the city's petition, the State of Connecticut has argued that its outcome has and will set a precedent for cities and towns across the nation.

Overall city and town bond approval results were down substantially from the 1982-89 years when 80-90 percent of bond proposals were approved by voters. The election marked the first time in recent memory that a majority of bond proposals were rejected.

The rejection rate was especially high in California, where state legislation requires a two-thirds vote. California Governor and former San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson had proposed legislation to reduce the requirement to a simple majority for general obligation bonds earlier this year, but his proposal was rejected. Only 31 percent of bonds submitted to California voters were approved.

In other tax exempt bond elections, three of eight state bond referendums were successful, 23 of 46 county referendums, and 52 of 131 district refendums.

Transportation, environmental and industrial development projects fared especially well, while education and public facility projects fared poorly. For education, only 48 of 125 bond proposals were approved, accounting for slightly more than 46 percent of the financing proposed.
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Title Annotation:November, 1991 elections
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 11, 1991
Previous Article:Upsets in mayor races indicate voter discontent in elections across nation.
Next Article:Former local official appointed aide to Bush.

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