‘Numbers don’t lie’

I’ve known Walter Riggs for a number of years. We served in the same service club together. He’s a banker and a smart fellow devoted to Amarillo.

He’s been on a tear lately, bemoaning the negativity surrounding the campaign relating to downtown redevelopment efforts in Amarillo. He posted this item the other day on Facebook:

“These metrics demonstrate why your city achieved a Triple A Bond Rating, one of only two municipalities in Texas to boast this. And what’s more amazing is it happened in 2009, in the depths of the 2nd worst recession in the history of the U.S. So to those that spread chicken little, sky is falling propaganda our city is poorly run, including political candidates trying to scare voters into voting for them, numbers don’t lie.”

He seeks to make a critical point about Amarillo’s current standing and its future.

Riggs notes that the city has acquired a AAA bond rating, which is about as good as it gets. I remember former City Manager Alan Taylor telling me with great pride that the city had achieved that rating. Taylor took a lot of credit for it, and deservedly so.

Yet we keep hearing from a faction — and I don’t think it’s much greater than that — that gripes about the city being “poorly run.” How can that be?

I ran into lame-duck City Councilman Ron Boyd today and railed to him about the complainers. Obviously, I was “preaching to the choir,” as the saying goes. The city can boast of its excellent bond rating; it can be proud of its low tax rate; it can take pride in the huge new infrastructure improvements planned for the western corridor of Loop 335.

The city, moreover, has laid the groundwork for a downtown renovation strategy that, to my way of thinking, makes sense. It is doable. It can be done without burdening property taxpayers. It will rely on revenue generated by people visiting here from elsewhere who pay hotel-motel taxes.

And yet there are those who contend the city is run poorly?

What in the name of civic pride is going on here?