Commissioners Court Meeting Today Tries to Force Vote on Revenue Bonds
February 12, 2008
Dear Hays County Commissioners and Community Members:
I know by now the commissioners are tired of hearing from me, since I have been communicating my distaste for road bond packages and for developing large expressways through our beloved Hill Country, but I fear I must speak out again since the commissioners court is meeting today again on the issue.
Commissioner Jeff Barton has both some good intentions and some NOT so good intentions with his ongoing push to approve any number of road bond packages that will support the building of large roadways and/or widen existing ones. It is public knowledge that many developers and road companies who would profit immeasurably from such plans have been contributors to Barton campaigns.
While it is true that we in Hays County must develop plans to build new and/or improve existing roadways, the methods proposed by Barton and some of the other commissioners are at least highly questionable.
There appears to be a rush to approve plans and financing in an abrupt haphazard manner. There are other options available that have not been fully analyzed and proposed.
There also appear to be "deadlines" held over our heads by TxDOT, a.k.a., the State, which truly can NOT be taken seriously. The reason we can NOT take TxDOT too seriously is because of the past history of our dealing with this agency. TxDOT promises many things, but follows through on little of its promises.
The latest proposal by Barton to approve revenue bonds is a veiled attempt to override last year's vote by county taxpayers to reject the proposition for the Road Bond Package. Clearly since that time, Jeff Barton has been attempting to divide the county into an East/West "Civil War" that would put neighbors against neighbors. Barton believes that his area of Hays County wanted the road bond package but the other part is the one that voted-down the proposition.
What Barton believes does NOT really matter because the entire county will bear the taxes for the bonds if approved, NOT just his section of the county. Consequently, Barton's latest try at an "end around" play is to appease his special interest constituents rather than the majority of Hays County taxpayers.
The county commissioners court has the authority to approve revenue bonds WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL!!!
However, the voters already determined that they do NOT want such bonds nor do they trust any sort of dealings with TxDOT.
There is a VERY good reason why TxDOT is being scrutinized and questioned by the Senate Finance Committee and why it is being reviewed by the Sunset Advisory Commission. Simply stated, TxDOT has stated many things and too many of those things have been lies or have NOT come to fruition as promised.
Why should Hays County, without more careful consideration, enter into further agreements with TxDOT when even our state legislature does NOT trust the agency?
In conclusion, at this time commissioners should NOT enter into any agreements with TxDOT until that time when the agency is cleared of all wrongful doing. In addition, while it is true that Hays County roadways need improvement, there are other, more practical and less costly ways to do so. We need to take the time to explore some of those more carefully before "jumping into bed" with this runaway agency that may be overhauled soon so that it performs in the best interests of the Texas community.
I urge citizens and commissioners to oppose approving the revenue bonds desired by Jeff Barton and also to avoid entering any new agreements with TxDOT until the agency has been cleared of any wrong-doing (which of course it won't be).