"No!" to Road Bonds!
Do Hays County Commissioners even see our failing economy?
Do they realize that taxpayers are overburdened already without throwing out more money for issues like the latest interest in an Elected Officials Compensation Plan and the extravagant proposal for road bonds?
Yes, elected officials should be "compensated" adequately. But NOT NOW!
We just raised the pay of our law officers, which was needed. But our teachers also should be compensated and county taxpayers need overdue tax relief.
Last year commissioners tried to get a bond package approved by voters that was $170 MILLION and it failed approval at the polls.
But that didn't stop our commissioners.
This year a similar package valued at more than $207 MILLION has been proposed by commissions under the premise that the plan was developed by a "Citizens Advisory Committee", whose members, by the way, were appointed BY THE COMMISSIONERS!
We need to question why every few months county residents have to fight against another road bond package pushed specifically by Commissioners Jeff Barton and Will Conley. These guys just don't /won't give it up. Now they are trying to push through the bond package under the guise of using a "Citizens Advisory Panel."
Some of the commissioners try to circumvent their accountability for pushing the road bonds by saying that there is a "Citizens Advisory Committee" that has reviewed and approved this course of action; however, the committee members were appointed by the commissioners and their allegiances are unclear, if not special interest directed.
Furthermore, while theoretically there may be a time and place for an extravagant and costly property tax increase to generate bond revenue for road building and maintenance, but it is NOT now at a time when the American Dream of owning your own home has become a financial "nightmare."
In fact, 2 months ago more than 100 homes were in foreclosure – the highest ever in Hays County and every month 80 to 100 more homes are going into foreclosure. It is a signal loud and clear that financial hardships already are plaguing our homeowner population. Adding to their burden now, with an expensive road bond package, surely will increase the record number of foreclosures and cause further hardship among the county's population of homeowners.
In addition, approving the road bond package at this time will prevent the younger segment of prospective homeowners [our children and grandchildren] from purchasing and affording their first homes. Such a bond package at this time of economic insecurity is nothing less than foolhardy and incomprehensible.
While one day in the future such a road bond package could be the method of accruing more tax revenue for building and maintaining needed road improvements, it is NOT now at a time when the economy is in chaos and homeowners are having such a difficult time affording their monthly living expenses.
We are being told that TxDOT will return the majority of our tax dollars spent on the road bonds sometime in the future. Can we believe TxDOT, which currently is under investigation by our Legislature for fraud, illegal activities and mis-management? Hays County should not partner or negotiate in ANY contract with TxDOT, a "run-away agency", until the investigation has been completed and long-needed changes are made to it.
Another concern regarding our roadways is safety. It is true that our roads in Hays County are more unsafe now than before; however, there are options of making roadways safer without spending more than $207 MILLION in road bonds.
- Increase law enforcement re: speeders, DUI and reckless drivers who cause a majority of accidents
- Install automatic speed checkers
- Lower speed limits
- Use better quality road materials when repairing cracks, pot-holes, etc. (Currently, roads need repair again after only several months of previous filling and remain dangerous to drivers)
- Prohibit and/or restrict more oversized and/or overweight commercial vehicles from using smaller county roads
- Install lights along our roads to improve visibility at night. Most accidents occur at around dawn and/or dusk, so improved lighting may be a significant factor in alleviating accidents.
The above are just a few options to the extravagant road bond proposition that would make our roads safer.
Hays County Commissioners would be making a grave error in judgment to pursue and approve any road bond package that would initiate a large increase in property taxes until the economy takes a substantial turn for the better – furthermore, it may be political suicide for any commissioners who continue to push for and approve the plan.
Unfortunately, other counties throughout the state also are using poor judgment in considering similar road bond packages to generate transportation financing.
Voters should again vote against the proposed road bond package. Hays County taxpayers / homeowners must contact commissioners and demand they stop "mandating" extravagant, excessive road bonds that will enslave homeowners further to their mortgage payments.
In an economy that is failing Americans at the national level, which has trickled down to the local level, do we really want to keep on spending MORE tax dollars?
While some of these issues in the bond proposition may well be important to review, do we have to throw-out more tax dollars at this time? Couldn't we wait a while for the economy to improve? Or aren't there other, less expensive alternatives that would resolve a few of the issues instead of all of them at additional astronomical costs to overburdened taxpayers?
At this time we should hold-off providing tax dollars to offer more compensation to our elected officials.
At this time we should avoid approving extravagant road bond packages and cut spending on issues and programs that are not urgent at this crucial period of economic uncertainty.
At this time we should avoid ANY extravagant expenditures.
Spending huge amounts of our tax dollars at this time is foolhardy.