by Lenny Leatherman –
Those in city government who propose bond propositions must be held accountable by their superiors – the tax payers!
In the Weatherford Democrat snippet shown at the bottom of this page, councilmember Heidi Wilder is quoted, “This [proposition failure] will affect transportation slightly but we will keep going with our strategic plan, even if there is a slight alteration.” Makes one wonder if transportation is the primary reason for this bond boondoggle!
In her statement Wilder admits that spending in excess of $16 million on their master plan will only “affect transportation slightly” And although the voters disapprove of their plan, they will keep going with their strategic plan, “even if there is a slight alteration.”
A slight alteration?
Does this mean you believe voter disapproval of your grand scheme is only a minor distraction that can easily be overcome with a slight alteration? That’s the way the game is played….right? It’s time now to reshuffle, to re-group and re-package the same old bloated proposal for the stated purpose of creating a pedestrian friendly downtown and to recapture that old historic feel.
Round 2 may appear to be a smaller leaner looking package in order to create the perception that our elected officials are listening and responding to the intent of the voting public.
Will you please state for the tax payers – what is the problem you are trying to solve that costs $16 million? How much do you NEED to spend to solve a traffic problem, and how much do you WANT to spend to “recapture that old historic feel and to make downtown more pedestrian friendly”?
Will your requested $16 million actually solve a problem?
Except for the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway (Western Loop) and the proposed Eastern Loop, I see nothing that will reduce the volume of traffic that flows into Weatherford. Simply moving traffic from one street to another (a north loop) is like moving loose change from one pocket to another. All you have done is move the problem. Doesn’t it make more sense to prevent, or at least discourage an unmanageable volume of traffic from entering Weatherford, that is….if your real objective is to manage traffic?
We understand that Weatherford is facing significant growth and with growth comes added demands on infrastructure. Instead of attempting to placate a selected few in downtown Weatherford, shouldn’t funds instead be spent on infrastructure in areas where growth is going to occur?
Unfortunately, the collective judgment (or lack thereof) on display in this bond proposal will no doubt cause tax payers to look with skepticism at future proposals that may indeed be necessary.
From the Weatherford Democrat –
Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2014 11:41 pm
Bond issues proposed by the City of Weatherford and the Aledo Independent School District failed to pass Tuesday night, while a bid for annexation for Emergency Services District No. 3 passed by a little less than 300 votes.
It was a fairly close race throughout for the City of Weatherford’s bond proposition, which initially showed 44 percent voting in favor of, according to early voting numbers.
Final but unofficial results Tuesday night saw the $16.5 million bond proposition fail, with 3,033 residents voting against and 2,463 voting in favor.
“I am surprised slightly [with the results] but that’s the will of the people. I’m just happy we had so many people come out and vote,” Weatherford Place 1 City Councilmember Heidi Wilder said.
The $16.5 million downtown renovation bond proposition, which was condensed from three propositions into one during an Aug. 14 board meeting, revolved around the city’s conceptual downtown plan, which would have accounted for $14 million of the total proposition.
An effort at “recapturing that old, historic feel” while becoming more pedestrian-friendly, the plan would have phased in over about three years, beginning with a loop on the north side of the square to divert traffic from the downtown area, while adding one-way streets to affect north-south flow, according to City of Weatherford Director of Transportation and Public Works Terry Hughes.
Wilder said that after Tuesday’s results, the board would have to go back and reevaluate its strategic plan.
“Transportation is always one of the top priorities besides public health and safety,” she said. “This will affect transportation slightly but we will keep going with our strategic plan, even if there is a slight alteration.”
After the dust finally settled Tuesday night Aledo ISD residents had nixed issuing $61.5 million in bonds by about 500 votes, halting plans to build a new elementary school, expand McAnally Intermediate School and other projects.
The final tally was 3,152 (46 percent) in favor and 3,633 (54 percent) against. A total of 3,887 votes were cast in early voting, with 1,785 in favor (46 percent) and 2,102 (54 percent) against.
“The 2025 Committee worked really hard to come up with this recommendation, but the community has spoken,” AISD Superintendent Derek Citty said. “We’ll have to evaluate what to do in the next election cycle.
“Historically, in this district, bonds typically fail in their first attempt. I’ve been told that by a lot of folks.”
School administrators estimated that the bond’s passage would have caused the district’s current tax rate of $1.4252 per $100 of assessed value to rise to $1.5210 per $100 of assessed value, adding about $225 to the annual tax bill of the owner of a house valued at $235,268, the district’s average taxable house value.