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Letter writer wrong about city’s finances

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That friendly Democratic Party pit bull, Fred Moran, who I personally like and respect, was once again at his “Roswell nagging best” with his Wednesday letter to the editor.

As usual, his letter was short on facts and slippery with large cow pies borrowed from his business neighbor on Garden Avenue. Yes, former Mayor Del Jurney did indeed support the ENMU-R GRT tax that had only proved how politically tone deaf he was, and how an unfortunate, exasperated comment by a college official doomed this tax, that many fiscally prudent voters already thought was profligate.

But without a doubt, the largest and slipperiest cow pie thrown by this obfuscating Jurney acolyte has to be his statement that the city is edging on financial crisis. Oh bull, Fred. Just this week, the council passed a new investment policy that will earn the city $500,000 per year instead of the $100,000 that was being earned during past administrations.

There have been numerous other instituted cost savings that make Roswell financially stronger. You mentioned $28 million, $25 million, and now $20 million for “this” project. I’m guessing “this” project has to be the replacement for the Yucca Center combined with a new aquatic center. I attended almost all meetings that were also open to all the public and were well attended.

I remember the cost estimates going to $18 million because the public wanted an indoor pool as well as the outdoor pool. Then the cost jumped to almost $20 million, because the public thought an eight-lane indoor competition pool, instead of a six-lane lap pool, could generate swimming meet revenues, and the public also wanted additional spectator seating.

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Now that $19.9 million of bonds have been sold at a very reasonable interest rate to cover the construction costs, it’s conservatively estimated that the GRT tax will retire those bonds in 20 years and at which time, the tax will indeed sunset. Some conservative purists will argue that the city should have had a $30,000 special city-wide election to approve a bond issue supported by a property tax increase.

Unfortunately, property tax bond issues have never been popular in Roswell, and are especially unpopular with retirees such as myself. As long as the GRT tax isn’t applied on food or prescriptions, it’s just less painful to pay a small additional tax (12.5 cents per $100) on discretionary spending. Plus, renters and visitors who don’t pay property taxes can help retire the bonds.

As for the awarding of the construction contract to skirt state statutes, I’ve been told that this new state statute does not take effect until November 2017 and may not be totally applicable. When I drove by Cielo Grande this past October weekend, I saw construction under way. This project was earnestly debated at numerous public meetings, and then a consensus was finally reached. Let’s wait to see and enjoy this new civic center/aquatic center before we find fault purely for blatant political purposes. OK, Fred?

Larry Connolly
Roswell

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