Led by former Randall County Commissioner Craig Gualtierre, a group of Amarillo citizens submitted over 10,000 signatures to petition a proposed $35 million Certificate of Obligation (CO) intended to finance the move of city hall.Roughly 8,000 of the individual petitions have been validated by the group, Gualtierre said. To meet the 5 percent of the electorate threshold, about 5,700 valid signatures must be turned in to make the ballot.
The Amarillo City Council is set to meet on August 10 and consider approval of the CO bond — a debt issued by a locality that does not need voter approval. As of 2020, $22.6 billion of issued CO debt was outstanding across the entire State of Texas.
COs were originally established in the 1970s to allow for emergency infrastructure spending that couldn’t wait for the ballot box. They have increasingly been used to refinance existing debt, like one would refinance a mortgage.