My cheap-seat perspective has me wondering once again about what is transpiring in Amarillo.
My mind keeps asking: If city voters said “no!” to a bond issue to spend $275 million for a new civic center and City Hall, what makes it better for the City Council to act without voter perspective on the very thing they rejected nearly two years ago?
The council has issued $260 million in something called “anticipation note” to pay for the project that voters rejected. A local businessman, Alex Fairly, has challenged the city with a lawsuit filed in 108th District Court. Someone sent me a copy of the lawsuit and I have looked it over. It’s pretty straightforward. It alleges that the city is acting illegally with those anticipation notes, contending they aren’t meant to be spent on this enormous project.
Back to my question about that earlier vote against this idea.
Mayor Ginger Nelson said she wants the city to act in a way that doesn’t overload taxpayers. Hmm. The city tax rate would increase 29.5% with the anticipation note. The municipal tax rate would increase from 44 cents per $100 valuation to 57 cents. Is that too big a burden? Some folks might think so.
I don’t believe cities, when handed an electoral defeat of the magnitude that occurred in Amarillo, should conduct the kind of razzle dazzle we’re seeing taking place. Voters who take their roles seriously as the “bosses” of those they select to govern have good reason in this case to wonder: How can the city’s governing council believe it can get away with this?