Letter to the Editor

DAYTON, September 30, 2014 – Come November, while most people focus on candidates, our local officials bleed us dry with bond proposals and proportions. Some to save the roads, some to save our children. But, don't be fooled, the lack of any real discussion on these issues is always done so we blindly bury ourselves in more and more debt. Does it matter who wins while on the same ballot we vote for more debt?

"$6,700,000,000.00!!!!!! That is the amount of local debt voters are being asked to vote on this November. Keep in mind voters were asked to vote on over $6,000,000,000.00 in May!!! There is no wonder Texas leads the nation in local debt. Only NY is ahead of Texas. Even CA is doing better."

On the Dayton Bond issue:

All bond issues should be a no, as they are nothing more than future debt described as 'for the children" or whatever pet project is wanted.

When school boards find themselves in budgeting crisis, it usually of their own doing for only planning for the 'now' and not the future. This is evident by the last bond to build the new high school which by the way is already too crowded. Forward thinking?

Now, they are back for more money.

"Nottingham Middle School is now 63 years’ old, Stephen F. Austin Elementary was built 53 years ago, and the district’s oldest facility is the main building at Colbert, built in 1929." This is an example of planning and budgeting. So, in 60 years, those elected to do just that, never thought, never planned for what surely is a human fact of repairs and upgrades that would be needed? All facilities come with a life span. Officials had 60 years to be financially stable and plan for these replacements. Because they were not, they want a bond? So, the community now pays for inept budgeting?

Some icing added? Always! "At Dayton High School, they would like to build six tennis courts so that the Broncos tennis team will no longer have to practice at Eagle Point, ...." Where are the booster clubs for these organizations? Six lighted tennis courts and parking for 50 cars? Oh, and a new auditorium for 850 people, also a covering for the rodeo arena and resurfacing the track. Let's not forget new showers and locker rooms for athletes. 87 million dollars is a large price tag, people. We must sift through our wants and our true needs.

Bonds are always a clever way used to deceive the public into debit. It is good measure to ALWAYS vote no to most bonds.

To be against a bond, the following is what will be said:

"You don't care for children or their future. We must invest this money for our students to excel"

First, children excelling scholastically has nothing to do with this bond. That falls squarely on educators. Second, throwing money at a problem never solves it. We, as a nation and community, should learn this.

"This bond will only raise taxes by $20.00 for every $100,000.00 in property in the district."

Yes. And doesn't that sales line sound great? Ask yourself why the district doesn't just ask you to vote on a $20.00 tax per property? This is a perfect example of how bonds twist thinking into forgetting the $87M in debt its truly creating. If they were to ask via taxation for these funds...do the math..it would be an unfeasible rise in taxes, WAY higher than $20.00 per $100K. What they will continue you to do is push this line of only costing you $20.00. What you must remember is this district is shouldering this community with $87 Million dollars in debt, and that is the bottom line, no matter how you twist numbers.

Break it out:

Dayton ISD population at 28,170.

That is $3,088.40 per person in new debt.
That is $12,353.60 of new debt per a family of four.

With over 60% of the ISD classified as disadvantaged, by the ISD's own calculations, can a family afford $12,353.60? Also, the ISD is shrinking, the growth rate is -1.27.

· Total Proposition Amount ($): $87,820,000
· Individual Proposition Number: 1
· Individual Proposition Amount ($): $87,820,000
· City: Dayton
· County: Harris/Liberty
· Local Election: TBD
· State House Districts: 18
· State Senate Districts: 3, 4
· Number of Schools: 9
· Population in ISD: 28,170
· ISD Enrollment: 5,067
· ISD Growth Rate 2003 to 2013: -1.27%
· Current I&S: 0.168
· Current M&O: 1.04
· Total Tax Rate: 1.208
· % of Debt Service: 7.43%
· Proposed I&S: TBD
· Proposed Total Tax Rate: TBD
· Last Bond Election: September 21, 2002
· Last Total Proposition Amount ($): $15,400,000
· Carried/Defeated: Carried

This gets better, the total combined debt currently is $17 Million. Adding $87 million more puts at a combined debt over $100 million.

Now, ask yourself, could you afford this amount of new debt? THIS is what they are truly asking for. Do not be fooled by the $20.00 being thrown around. The amount of debt being called for is what is above. Could that money be used for higher education for your children?

Can we agree there is something good in this bond? YES. However, the needs and the wants clearly need to be separated out. Do we need more tennis court than almost as many traffic signals in Dayton? Where are the booster clubs for the athletics? The tennis team, the ones who have a vested interest in building this should be raising money. Either they don't have one, which begs the question how important is it to have this, or they won't raise it themselves and expect that everyone should pay for this and not just the vested team. Same with the rodeo arena being covered. This bond has many wasteful, un-needed items. As most do. As written, we call for the community to reject this proposal.

Bottom line, we shouldn't nor can we afford 87 MILLION dollars in debt. We have fire departments in this county that can't even afford liability insurance on their trucks. Do we need $87 million wasted on pet additions to this bond?

By Jeff LeBlanc, Chairman Liberty Republican Caucus Liberty County





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