2023 Parks and Recreation Bond Referendum
Fuquay-Varina provides opportunities to live, work, and play. That’s why it’s one of the fastest-growing towns in North Carolina and has been rated as one of the best places to live in the country.
As a part of the Town’s 2022 Community Survey, 92% of our residents indicated that Fuquay-Varina is a great place to live, and the quality of parks and greenways are a priority. Our parks, trails, recreation facilities, and programs significantly contribute to residents’ quality of life, providing recreational opportunities and facilities that enhance social development and community well-being. They are a key component of our community’s new growth and strong roots.
Quality-of-life enhancements are necessary to keep up with the growing demand and are made possible by strategic decision-making and community investments. To keep up with that demand, our goals are to construct new recreation facilities and Town Park amenities and make existing facility improvements to meet the needs of our community today and in the future.
Parks and Recreation Bond Overview
On November 7, 2023, Fuquay-Varina residents will have the opportunity to vote on a Parks and Recreation Bond totaling $60 million. The referendum will ask voters whether they approve of the Town’s use of General Obligation (G.O.) Bond financing to pay for parks and recreation projects.
Potential projects identified in the 2024 Comprehensive Systemwide Master Plan to be advanced with Bond funding include:
- Future recreational park, 70+ acres, location TBD (baseball, softball, soccer, and similar outdoor athletics fields, shelter, restrooms, and other amenities).
- Hilltop Needmore Town Park & Preserve improvements and implementation of priorities from the adopted Master Plan (two ballfields, pickleball courts, resurfacing of walking trails, additional parking).
- Indoor sports complex for basketball, pickleball, volleyball, and other indoor sports.
- Greenway, location TBD
- Fuquay-Varina Community Center renovation
Download the Parks and Recreation Brochure Bond brochure.
Schedule a Speaker
Want to learn more about the 2023 Parks and Recreation Bond? If you would like someone to speak at your next meeting or event, contact Communications Director, Susan Weis at 919-552-1417 or by email.
Frequently Asked Questions
Every 4-5 years, the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources (PRCR) Department performs a needs assessment of recreational facilities called a Comprehensive Systemwide Master Plan. As part of that study, the department examines how facilities and programs are used and current growth trends. Using surveys and public outreach, citizens provide input on the recreational opportunities they want to see in Fuquay-Varina. We factor in existing facilities' maintenance needs and devise a plan.
The 2024 Comprehensive Systemwide Master Plan lists $68,509,890 projects. To pay for these investments, the Town will utilize a combination of recreation unit fees; state-funded grants, such as Parks and Recreation Trust Funds (PARTF); other grant opportunities; and a $60 million bond referendum.
Future Park/Indoor Field House
In the past four years, PRCR has seen significant growth in youth and adult sports, gymnasium use, and recreation program participation. Existing facilities are under heavy demand as use has steadily increased each year. For example, youth sports participation has risen 47.6% since 2019. Due to facility constraints, in some instances, sports registration has been capped, practice times have been limited, and the number of games reduced to accommodate facility limitations.
The current Community Center gym is at full utilization, and the Community Center North gyms, when built, will alleviate some pressure. However, based on future participation projections, additional gym space will be needed to meet citizen demand.
Hilltop Needmore Town Park & Preserve
Improvements and implementation of priorities from the adopted Master Plan.
Two separate surveys indicate that greenways are important to Fuquay-Varina citizens.
The Master Plan survey’s public input efforts identified paths/greenways as a top priority for new construction over the next 5 years.
In the 2022 Community Survey administered by the Town, residents indicated that the Parks and Recreation Department’s top emphasis over the next two years should be the number of walking, biking, and greenway trails.
While bringing on new facilities, it is essential to maintain existing ones.
A bond referendum is a voting process that gives voters the power to decide if a municipality should be authorized to raise funds through the sale of bonds. A general obligation (G.O.) bond is a form of long-term borrowing in which a municipality pledges the full faith and credit (taxing power) to repay the debt over a specified term. G.O. bonds are generally the least costly financing option available to the town to finance major capital projects.
Bonds make capital projects more affordable and put less stress on the town's budget. By using bonds to finance these projects, we can pay for them in installments over time rather than needing all the money at the outset.
The Town of Fuquay-Varina’s AAA rating lowers the Town’s borrowing costs. The Town’s financial policies of maintaining adequate fund balance reserves, retiring debt in a responsible time frame, strong debt management policies, and regular audits serve to keep debt per capita and net debt as a percentage of taxable property at low levels. For this reason, the Town of Fuquay-Varina is able to sell bonds at a low-interest rate, resulting in lower borrowing costs for the taxpayer.
If citizens vote in favor of the bond financing question on the November 7 ballot, the Town will be authorized to issue up to $60 million in general obligation (G.O.) bonds.
The schedule and amount of bond issues depend on the timetables, economic conditions, and resources, including tax revenues, needed to fund capital projects and related operating costs. The Town Board may move forward or delay bond issues on these factors.
Once the voters authorize G.O. Bonds in a referendum, the Town may issue them at any time during a seven-year authorization period. This can be extended by three years before expiration. Payback of bonds occurs within 20 years after funds are borrowed.
The repayment of bonds is spread out over several years, so current and future taxpayers share costs. This provides for more equitable funding by all taxpayers who will benefit from the bond projects. When bonds are issued, taxes may be increased for property owners to pay the debt.
If the Parks & Recreation Bond is passed, the tax implication for a $60 million bond could impact property tax by an increase of up to 8 cents.
The impact on the median family home in Fuquay-Varina ($280,106 as of January 2022) would be $224 per year or $19 per month.
Historically, the Fuquay-Varina Town Board has tried to minimize the tax impact by utilizing growth in revenues, grant funding, and staggering projects in phases.
In 2021, citizens passed an $18.5 million Parks & Recreation Bond funding Community Center North at Hilltop Needmore Town Park and Preserve, which will begin construction in fall 2023. Utilizing several strategies, the Town brought the project in at a 3-cent property tax rate increase as opposed to a 4.5-cent property tax rate increase, which was initially discussed as the potential impact of passing the 2021 Bond Referendum.
The Town would need to cap participation in certain youth sports programs to registration that can be supported with the existing facility inventory.
Some projects will likely be postponed or eliminated. The Town Board may also choose to advance a portion of the identified projects through other funding mechanisms, which could mean projects are built in later years and/or at a higher cost.
In 2021, citizens passed an $18.5 million Parks & Recreation Bond funding Community Center North at Hilltop Needmore Town Park and Preserve. Construction on this multi-generational facility began in late summer of 2023 and features three gymnasiums, an elevated indoor walking track, multi-purpose classrooms, fitness areas, a teaching kitchen, two racquetball courts, and a dedicated Active Adult wing (ages 55+).
Community Center North is expected to open in late 2024.
- If voters don’t approve the bonds, does this mean that the Board of Commissioners will be prevented from raising property tax rates in the future?
No. The bond is a vote on whether the town may specifically use general obligation (G.O.) bond financing; it is not a vote on the property tax rate. The Board of Commissioners may raise or lower the property tax rates each year depending on the amount of revenues the Board believes is necessary to meet the operational and capital needs of the town government.
The bond question will appear on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot, along with the candidates for local offices. You can vote on the Parks and Recreation Bond if you are a Fuquay-Varina resident and are registered to vote.
To make sure you are registered to vote, please visit here. The voter registration deadline is October 13, 2023, for municipal elections on November 7, 2023.
Find polling sites, early voting, sample ballot, and other election information here.