Last November, Austin voters rejected a $78.3 million bond proposal for affordable housing programs in the city. It was the only bond measure to fail.
But just one year later, voters will be asked again to back affordable housing programs, this time to the tune of $65 million.
"My concern is an out-of-touch City Council," Travis County taxpayer Cathy McGuinnes said. "Will we just continue to see do overs? Each election, getting a measure on the ballot costs money (and) takes time."
After the last election, council members wondered if it failed because voters were simply uniformed about what the money would be used for.
"Not everybody understands the types of projects and programs that are funded for affordable housing," Mike Trimble with the Austin Capital Planning Office said.
Trimble says the bonds won't just build housing for the poor. The program includes money to rehab rental properties and low-interest loan programs for prospective homeowners.
"Also home repairs, so if there is any existing repairs that need to be made to homes. This is dependent upon people being of a certain income level," he said.
Families of four making less than $58,550 qualify as low income and households making less than $36,600 are considered very low income.
But opponents say the help comes at the cost of families just above the limits.
"In a quest to create affordability, our city government is making existing homes unaffordable for the people that live here," Roger Falk with the Travis County Taxpayers Union said.
Falk points to high rents even miles away from downtown.
"Look at a one bedroom apartment anywhere near the center of the city. It's over $1,000,” he said. “Who can afford these things?"
The Austin City Council dedicated $10 million from the current budget--which began Tuesday--to affordable housing. City leaders are hosting four open houses over the next two weeks to explain what taxpayers will get for their money.
The first one will be held Thursday at the George Washington Carver Library. Find more information at AustinTexas.gov/2013bond.