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County official offered ending building plans

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DIANA BUCKLEY
Ellis County Press
WAXAHACHIE - An Ellis County official held private negotiations with rollback organizers hoping to stop them from submitting petitions in December.

Separate sources confirmed a meeting was held in which a county official offered to 'lock up' the fund for the administration building project. One source indicated there was an offer to lower the tax rate increase from 8.6 cents to 4.6 cents.

Rollback organizers said at the time they would take the offer 'under advisement,' but later were told commissioners 'weren't interested.'

Both sources asked the Ellis County Press not to release the name of the county official because they fear reprisal.

County Treasurer Mark Price said he was never made aware of such a discussion.

'Is it even possible (to end the building program)? Anything is possible,' he said. 'Whether it is prudent is another matter.'

Price said the county could stop the building project but would still be obligated to pay the interest on the bonds for a minimum of five years.

'In effect, we'd be paying principle and interest on money that was sitting in the bank,' Price said.

Price indicated there are stringent Federal guidelines governing the use of the bond money.

County officials repeatedly have saidthe rollback election would not affect the building project.

They released a 'cut list' detailing 43 positions to be cut, 51 new positions to be eliminated, and dozens of other reductions including cessation of funding to Hope Clinic, the Historical Commission, the Youth Expo Center, the Ellis County Committee on Aging, and others.

Rollback organizer John Tabor called the cut list 'scare tactics,' but said commissioners have 'total control' over the decisions.

'One department head is considering getting an injunction against Cornelius to stop him from cutting his department,' Tabor said.

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