When will City Hall learn that planning ahead is a good thing?
Next month, the Hereford Economic Development Corporation will consider putting a commitment of $2.5 million on the table for the possible construction of a $6.5 million civic center complex in the city. Voters will have the chance to approve or deny the issue in November, but, according to Hereford city attorney Rick Hanna, the project will be completely funded on the day voters will decide its fate. Hanna said that the City has been saving money for eighteen years in expectation of the project and believes that now is the time to do something about the ailing community center.
Now, take a look at Amarillo.
In Amarillo, residents continue to get sold false bills of goods. Whether it be the supposed Amarillo Civic Center "renovations" in 2016 or the downtown baseball park, the City continues to promise big, but never delivers. Often we are told that projects will cost taxpayers nothing, or very little. Take a look at the way the City sold the ballpark to voters in 2015. As more details have begun to emerge, it is clear that a tax increase could happen, and bonds that were never part of the discussion are now being discussed as ways to fund the project.
I heard proponents of the project scream about how City leaders have worked for years on developing the idea for the ballpark and that it would be unfair to let that work go to waste. If proponents have truly been working on the project for close to a decade, why has no money been put aside to help pay for the ballpark?
While City officials continue to struggle with the concept of accounting, we should give major praise to the City of Hereford on saving money in reserves to pay for civic center construction there. Maybe someday we will see savings as a priority at Amarillo City Hall, but I'm not holding my breath.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief