What accomplishments does the Amarillo City Council have to tout for this year’s election? Not much…unless you ask them.
Over the past few weeks, as the incumbent members of the City Council have been announcing bids for office, they have been touting grand promises and making claims about their records. Their claims about their supposed accomplishments range anywhere from “not raising taxes” to reopening the chipping sites, which they themselves closed.
But, like with all things pertaining to this City Council, it is beneficial to look beyond the promises they tout, to find the real truths lying behind what they claim.
The two specific issues that will be addressed here concern the taxes claim and chipping sites claim. There are many other claims they have made, such as prioritizing public safety, which could have their own dedicated articles, but for a short run down, we will just focus on these two issues.
First, with the tax issue, it has been claimed many times that the current City Council has not raised taxes. This is untrue, both in a tax rate sense and in an overall tax bill sense. The City Council has approved a higher tax rate, due to debt service obligations. But, just on the tax bill by itself, the City Council has also voted for what are considered “effective” tax increases. In this case, while the City Council chooses not to raise its rate, they also don’t lower the tax rate, while accepting a higher property valuation roll. Essentially, this allows the City Council to raise your taxes, while claiming they didn’t. So, any claims about not raising taxes are simply misleading statements by the incumbents.
Also, on the chipping sites, this issue was addressed by at least one councilmember during this election season. This individual touted that the City Council reopened chipping sites, while failing to mention that their own body presided over the closing of the sites. Now, I have heard a myriad of claims relating to why the City Council chose to close the chipping sites, but I have not heard any of the members take credit for closing the original sites when they take credit for reopening two sites. Essentially, this seems like an issue that was created by these politicians in order to have some flimsy accomplishment to use at election time.
Like I said, there are a number of other issues that could be addressed, but these are just two issues. Remember, each member of the City Council will likely have challengers this May. If you are happy with these kinds of fake accomplishments, then they deserve your vote. However, if you are looking for more transparency and honesty, I would highly encourage you to consider voting for someone new.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief