First, I have more of an overview of the proposal than specifics. On each of the specific expenses, I think one can find ample opinions on both sides of each endeavor. As I read the comments on Larry Beckham's website, I find most concerned with the costs of each item, while some see the need for some improvements. Parks are a slightly different issue.
Of course, all cost money. Therefore, the need for either a bond issue........or higher tax rate. I agree with most that say that street and alley repair should be planned for and paid out of our annual operating budget. However, apparently it has been felt that in order to keep the tax rate down, cost of repairs have been deferred to the Bond Election. I don’t really agree with this, however it is only a different pocket. It doesn’t really hurt us anymore by being paid by bond proceeds rather than paid by operating income. Taxes can be raised to pay for street repairs......or they can be raised to pay for bond debt load. Although not entirely accurate, it’s about a “push.” Much the same can be said for Parks.
The only real reservation I had was the $2.6 million for the Public Safety Training Center. I never heard of them being used much. However, I have now learned that Rowlett used to rent time from Garland’s training center, and a good friend of mine, who retired from the Dallas Police, said that Dallas made a lot of money renting their facilities to other outlying cities. The potential of earning some income to offset costs softened my stance on this issue.
The whole purpose for my blog is not to complain about various things that already have hundreds of people opining about. I selected the often neglected topic of Tax Base. Anything that has a positive effect on Tax Base, that also has an acceptable cost attached to it, is okay in my books. So, I look at the Bond election a slightly different way. I tend to look at the big picture.
So, in backing up and looking at an overview, I reached this conclusion:
We are in the process of retiring $25 million in bond debt. This debt should be paid off over a few months. These bonds have a much higher interest rate than what we will incur with the new issue. In fact, interest rates are so low now, it’s almost free money. If the old bond debt carried an interest rate of 6% and the new rate is 3%, We have cut our debt interest load in half. From this standpoint alone, the city’s cash flow is improved by that amount. Therefore, this should not have upward pressure on tax rate. Some other things might, but the bond package shouldn’t.
The overall allocations of Bond proceeds will go toward improving streets, alleys, and parks. I can’t think of many variables that can improve the appearance of any community any faster than good streets and parks........particularly if those parks are waterfront parks, which also appeal to mature citizens as well as younger.
Now, if you increase the desirability of your community, what else improves? Of course, real estate values. That value goes straight to your balance sheet. That helps every citizen.
What’s the alternative? Don’t do anything. Vote the bond issue down. What does that accomplish? It didn’t save money..............because the city would have to raise taxes to repair the streets, alleys, and improve the parks. Again, a “push.”
I could go either way on the Public Safety facility. If the city can build a case for making it an earning asset, I am in favor.
When taken in total, I am in favor of the Bond issue, with a modest reservation about the Public Safety facility.