Tax rollback flap
By 12/14/2000 00:00:00
Ellis County Judge Al Cornelius has been quoted as saying the current county tax rollback petition effort is not really about taxes, but power and revenge. The judge continued by saying the people don't need to be exposed to this and things are going well in the county.
Elsewhere, Republican County Chairman John Tabor has said this rollback effort IS about taxes, IS about wasting tax dollars, and IS about not listening to the taxpayer.
So who is right? Well, history has proven Judge Cornelius missed his prediction about the people of Ellis County's willingness to approve a referendum for a new county administration building in downtown Waxahachie.
History has also proven him wrong on his statement of a few years ago that the jail overcrowding situation would be addressed by contingency plans prior to its becoming a problem.
Statistics have proven him wrong in his refusal to save tax dollars on a county jail by choosing to build from the ground up, instead of utilizing an already-paid-for previously-existing facility. This miscalculation and failure to plan in a timely manner is resulting in a near-million-dollar-a-year liability for housing county prisoners in the Dallas County jails*.
History has shown previous administrations had the ability to provide required services without record-breaking tax hikes.
Statistics and history record the natural pattern of revenue rates to be downward in growing jurisdictions, rather than drastically upward, as is the current case in Ellis County.
On the negative side for the rollback team, it appears Tabor has been unable to avoid the controversy, usually associated itself with holding governmental feet to the fire. It is not surprising to find Tabor was also unable to dodge bullets in the Vietnam War on two occasions, as well...receiving Purple Hearts on two of those occasions for that 'inability.'
Current commissioners court has chosen to expend approximately $3 million on a temporary county administration building at the old Wal-Mart facility in Waxahachie.
Though some of that expenditure will be recovered, it's said, through utilization of certain aspects of the temporary facility in the proposed new facility, it remains unclear why county business could not remain at that temporary location, saving millions of tax dollars in the process.
As to the layoff of current county employees, it is known that 20-someodd new sheriff's deputies are penciled into the new budget, though the new jail annex will not require their services until the 2002 fiscal year. We're talking about three-quarters of a million dollars right there. If you remove those, let's say 25 deputies and replace them with 25 current county employees, you've just saved 25 jobs right there.
At the current pay rate of deputies, you're probably saving more jobs than that.
So, what is it; power and revenge or taxes? Based on their track record of straight shooting with their constituents who elected them, Judge Cornelius and most of his commissioners are making Fs.
Chairman Tabor, though shot at and bloody, is working on another Purple Heart.
Will this rollback shut down county government? It's doubtful. Predictions are VERY doubtful by citizens, who are not nearly so concerned as are the bureaucrats...
*This miscalculation is probably the major player in the 26.07 percent who have agreed there may be feasible solutions, short of the tax increase, but there must be a willingness to tackle the problem on the part of the whole court. Predictions are, however, it will be business as usual at commissioners court.