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$250,000 for a skate park?

December 23, 2012

This is a large expenditure and in general, I think it’s not what I would have done with the money.  Hmmm. If that’s the case, then why did I vote for it?  Wow, great question. 🙂 Thank you for asking.

I think the appropriate way to have dealt with this is to participate in the Parks Development Board.  These people make the decisions about how the funds from the 1/4 cent of Sales Tax that is allocated to it and they bear the responsibility for managing these funds.  At the Council level, unless there is some moral reason to NOT do it, I think it is best to honor the work of that committee and implement what they have decided is the best course.

Now, to be clear, I was the one who advocated that the funding be cut for PDC from 1/2 cent of sales tax to 1/4 cent of sales tax with the other 1/4 cent of sales tax was allocated to roads.  I’d probably support an effort to change the 1/4 cent of sales tax to be allocated towards paying down property taxes.  In fact, I’d be willing to see the CCPD money used in the same way. Or, perhaps even better, to just get rid of them all the way.

I actually struggle with this concept too, as removing the sales tax without reallocating it to something like abating the property tax just leaves it open to a future council to throw us all back under the bus.  I don’t doubt for one second that they’d do that too.  However, if the sales tax were allocated to a property tax abatement effort, it would still be tied up.

However, the downside to property tax abatement would be that government funding gets more and more opaque and harder to follow.  I’m not sure that there’s a perfect solution, but in general, the taxpayers would be better served by paying less taxes.

In the mean time, if you have an interest in how the money for the Parks Development Corp is spent, the meetings are open to the public.  I have suggested that the meetings be posted as a meeting of City Council so that any concerned Council members (apparently Councilman Johnson would be one) could attend and voice their opinion there.  I believe there are even openings on the board if you’d like to get involved.  I think it’s also the case that it wouldn’t be possible for the funds from PDC to be used for Sewer repair as Councilman Johnson suggested.

If you go to the City’s website (www.cowtx.org) and click on the government square, then click on Boards and Commissions, then select the Parks Development Corporation.  You can find the listings for meeting there.  You can also sign up for texts or emails with notifications about the meetings.  http://www.cowtx.org/index.aspx?nid=314  That’s a link to the PDC page.

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