Over the objections of residents, many of whom are out of work or have shuttered their businesses, the Henderson City Council voted four to one Tuesday to borrow $60 million to fund general obligation bonds, which would partially fund a hockey arena in Green Valley Ranch.
Councilman Dan Stewart voted against the project. He noted that family members worked to oppose the project via the Henderson Coalition for Responsible for Government. He commended them for their “willingness to get involved and express their views knowing full well they would likely, and have received undue criticism because of their relationship with me given my position on the city council.”
The money is designated for a new police substation, the hockey arena and to take advantage of low-interest rates by refinancing $9.3 million in current debt.
City officials said the bond approval is essential now, during a pandemic, to help stimulate the economy and create jobs.
Opponents said the city’s priority during a pandemic should be on essential services and said it was irresponsible to fund a hockey arena at this time.
Some residents suggested the measure should be on a ballot but said they were unable to collect signatures because of social distancing requirements. Others suggested the project, if approved at all, should be funded by a separate revenue bond, which relies on revenue generated by the facility, rather than a general obligation bond, which puts the municipality at risk.
The special meeting, which included a discussion of the effects of COVID-19 on city government, began appropriately with an invocation from police chaplain Gary Morefield, who asked for healing upon our land whether by medicine or miracle, or a combination of both.